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TideWriters Tales

     Oysters filter the water in which they live, some scientists say up to 50 gallons per oyster each day. The more oysters, the cleaner the water and the healthier the Bay.

     Families or individuals can participate in this Bay cleanup in a very simple way by raising 1000 oysters in a float at their dock or near their shore. Oysters growing off the bottom in this fashion develop rapidly and within two years can be eaten or after one year placed on one of the oyster sanctuary reefs established by the State. Maintenance activity is very slight; so the only significant task is the building of the float and placing the oysters in it.

     The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum will sponsor a workshop on September 21, 2002 where the prepared materials for a float, instruction on assembly, information on oyster raising and the seed oysters will be available. Activity will begin at 10 am in the sanctuary of Bethany United Methodist Church on Main Street with a short presentation by Dr. Jim Wesson, head of oyster replenishment for VMRC. He will discuss the work being done to re-establish our depleted oyster population. 

     At 10:30 participants will be instructed on assembly and given the materials for their floats. Spud Parker will describe the process of building the Taylor Float, and Peter Perina will demonstrate the EEEOHM assembly. Fabrication can take place behind the church with supervision available, or the materials may be taken home and assembled later.

     Registration for the workshop is accomplished by sending to the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum, P.O. Box 306, Reedville, Virginia. 22539, a check in the proper amount for the type float desired (see description below), an indication of whether you wish to purchase seed oysters (at roughly $27 per thousand), and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. This communication must be received by September 7 so that materials and oysters can be ordered and delivered to the workshop. Do not include payment for oysters. The oysters are purchased at the workshop from Ken Kurkowski of Middle Peninsula Acquaculture. The price will be determined at time of purchase.

     Two types of floats are available; each capable of raising 1000 oysters.

     TAYLOR FLOAT – a wire basket one foot deep, two feet wide, and three feet long, which is floated by a rectangular collar formed from four inch PVC pipe. This kit includes a wire mesh cover and three plastic mesh cages. The cost of a Taylor float is $75. The price increase is necessary because of the inclusion of a top and 3 plastic mesh cages needed to hold the young oysters.

     EEEOHM MODULE – a float is ultimately made up of five rectangular plastic mesh cages of 5/8 inch mesh. Initially the seed oysters are placed in a single cage with a mesh size of 3/16 inch. After several months they will have grown to the point where they will be transferred to the five cages with the larger mesh. The cost of these materials is $35 with the participant furnishing the empty two-liter bottles which are fastened to the ends of each cage (4 per cage) for flotation. Only two of these empty two-liter bottles should be brought to the workshop since this is all the flotation required when the 3/16 inch mesh cage is utilized.

     Northern Neck Oyster Growers who wish simply to order oysters for pickup should do so by calling Don Beard at 438-6563.

     Further information can be obtained by calling Spud Parker at 435-5950 or Cal Boyd at 453-5333.

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