• Enhancement of subtidal eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, recruitment using mesh bag enclosures

      O'Beirn, F.X.; Walker, R.L.; Heffernan, P.B. (National Shellfisheries Association, 1996)
      Eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, in the southeastern United States are found predominantly in the intertidal zone. In this study, mesh bags (3 and 6 mm) were deployed over collecting frames, and the patterns of oyster settlement on these collectors were compared against unmeshed controls at three tidal heights (intertidal, low water, and subtidal) over three sampling regimes (biweekly, monthly, and seasonal) at two sites. Within the biweekly sampling regime, the meshed collectors and controls had similar patterns of settlement at the respective tidal heights. For monthly samplers, mesh treatments maintained higher settlement subtidally whereas controls had highest settlement on the collectors at mean low-water level. Controls had highest recruitment intertidally for seasonal collectors, whereas mesh treatments had higher recruitment lower in the intertidal zone. Conclusions from this experiment were that the use of mesh-covered collectors enhanced subtidal oyster recruitment. Causes of observed increases in subtidal settlement in mesh collectors over unmeshed controls over time could be the result of a combination of factors: predator exclusion, larval entrainment, or reduced desiccation, which seemed to overcome the detrimental effects of increased fouling, resulting in reduced flow and possible hypoxic conditions within the mesh bags. Given the degree of recruitment and the sizes of the recruits attained within the mesh bags, the use of these methods to attain juveniles for commercial purposes would appear to be both feasible and viable, particularly for long periods (up to 6 1110) of deployment.