The 2007 status review report conducted on a petition to list the eastern oyster (Crassostrea…
About the Species
U.S. farmed Eastern oysters are a smart seafood choice because they are sustainably grown and harvested under U.S. state and federal regulations.
Oysters provide net environmental benefits by removing excess nutrients and improving water quality.
Growing oysters requires no feed – they filter phytoplankton directly from the water column.
Oysters are grown in tidal areas. They can be grown directly on the beach bottom or in mesh bags, trays or cages that are either anchored in the water column or floated on rafts.
Shellfish toxins and bacteria occur naturally in the environment and can cause foodborne illnesses. State and federal regulations require monitoring of farmed oysters to ensure they are safe to eat.
- Reaches 8 inches at maturity.
- The shell has smooth edges and is oval in shape. The inside of the shell is white to off/white to brownish in color.
- The shell has a “cupped” shape to it, giving rise to its alternate name “American cupped oyster.”
- Are of the shellfish family. Like mussels, clams and scallops they are bivalve mollusks, and have a hinged shell.
- Adults are sessile – they stay in one place – and inhabit both intertidal and subtidal areas.
- Have fast growth rates and high reproduction rates.
- First mature as males, then later develop female reproductive capabilities.
- Each female can produce over 100 million eggs during a spawning event.
Where They Live
- Permitting for shellfish aquaculture is governed by federal, state and local governments.
- The federal agencies involved are NOAA, the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Coast Guard.
- Shellfish farms must adhere to federal regulations including those in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.
- Information on shellfish aquaculture permitting can be found in the Shellfish Growers Guide.
- A variety of shellfish aquaculture tools, including maps and models, are available to coastal managers.