Morgan State University's Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory has recently reopened their oyster hatchery at Jefferson Patterson Park in Calvert County. Our mission at the hatchery is to respond to the aquaculture industry's needs for creating private oyster hatcheries in the state of Maryland.
Our goal for the short term is to provide support for local watermen and entrepreneurs interested in becoming a part of the private oyster aquaculture industry. Part of this support will come from the production of diploid and triploid larvae from native oyster populations using our 616 square foot facility. Oyster hatcheries are important to the aquaculture industry because they provide a reliable supply of oyster larvae and spat for use by local watermen and other members in the oyster harvesting business. Hatcheries make for more sustainable shellfish farming, as it is relies less on the impacts of nature's unpredictable wild spat sets. Hatcheries provide a way to breed selectively for certain traits.
In the long term, our goal is to assist with the state with the creation of commercial hatcheries. Working with industry managers to transfer hatchery technology and knowledge is important in cultivating this growing industry.
Oyster farmers are in need of more sources of larvae to support their business' growth and developing private oyster hatcheries in the state of Maryland will assist with satisfying this need.
So, we ask those in the industry: How can we help?