Monitoring Shellfish Growth and Survival

The Shellfish Habitat Assessment program and the Shellfish Officer Research and Education (ShORE) program assist shellfish growers and town shellfish wardens with monitoring shellfish survival and growth. Marine Program staff developed and implemented a simple and adaptable method to measure these parameters almost anywhere. This information helps growers and managers to understand the shellfish growth and survival they see in the areas they manage.

Shellfish Habitat Assessment

For the Shellfish Habitat Assessment program, seed quahogs and seed oysters are placed within gear at 4 standard locations around Cape Cod:  Barnstable Harbor, Cape Cod Bay in Brewster, Pleasant Bay in Orleans, and Wellfleet Harbor. After a 2 month growing period the shellfish are harvested and the overall survival and daily growth rate are calculated. This work began in 2003 and we now have a 16 year data set that is used to analyze trends in growth and survival of shellfish around the Cape

Shellfish Habitat Assessment Map

Shellfish Officer Research and Education
The Shellfish Officer Research and Education (ShORE) program was developed in response to requests for assistance from town resource managers. In collaboration with the towns, Marine Program staff develop and implement experiments which help resource managers plan restoration and enhancement efforts. Shellfish monitoring gear is placed in locations where managers have questions about the effects of things like restoration efforts and tidal restrictions. The information is also useful for determining where new propagation areas can be started.

The Marine Team developed and implemented a simple and adaptable method to examine survival and growth of shellfish almost anywhere. This method has been used to help towns make decisions about siting of restoration efforts and the method has been used in an ongoing study to analyze trends  in growth and survival of shellfish around the Cape, in hopes of identifying important factors.

Juvenile quahaugs are planted in pots with and without mesh and growth and survival are measured yearly.

Oyster racks are set up to monitor oyster growth and survival every year from July to September.

Marine Program staff and ShORE participant remove oyster seed from habitat assessment cages for measurement.

Oyster seed grown in a habitat assesment area as part of the ShORE program.