About the Species
U.S. farmed Pacific oysters are a smart seafood choice because they are sustainably grown and harvested under U.S. state and federal regulations.
- Can reach up to 10 inches in length.
- The shell is elongated, thick, rough and sometimes sharp. The inside of the shell is white to off/white with purple streaks.
- The shell has a “cupped” shape to it, giving rise to its alternate name “Pacific 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 sub-tidal areas.
- Have fast growth rates and high reproduction rates.
- First mature as males, then later develop female reproductive capabilities.
- Each female can produce between 50 and 200 million eggs during a spawning event.
- 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.