Louisiana Sea Grant Films Building Off-Bottom Oyster Nursery Silo Video

by / Newsroom Ink on August 28, 2013


by LSU Sea Grant staff

Most of the Louisiana oysters are farmed on reefs. This includes oyster farms that are dependent on a source of wild seed oysters, usually transplanted from public oyster grounds that historically have cyclical production.

Building and operating an oyster nursery allows an oyster farmer to be less dependent on the state for oyster seed. Nurseries also can produce single oysters for the half-shell market using off-bottom culture methods.


John Supan has been a leader in researching the techniques and feasibility of hatchery-based, off-bottom oyster culture in the state. Photo: LSU Sea Grant

Louisiana Sea Grant has recently completed a video demonstrating how to build an oyster nursery silo from a 55-gallon plastic drum.

John Supan, oyster specialist with Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter and the director of the Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery on Grand Isle, has been a leader in researching the techniques and feasibility of hatchery-based, off-bottom oyster culture in the state.

Supan and his team developed the 18-minute nursery construction video with the assistance of the Sea Grant communications team.

The film shows tools, supplies and techniques needed for the project and walks the viewer through the entire fabrication process. Supan also demonstrates step-by-step how to construct a silo from a piece of pipe that fits inside the drum silo to contain the tiniest seed oysters until they are mature enough to place in the larger silo.

Oyster Seeds

Oyster Seeds for the drum. Photo: LSU Sea Grant

“The idea came from a Florida clam nursery,” Supan said. “These nursery silos are relatively quick and easy to build and are economical, requiring only about $25-worth of materials to construct one. The tools needed are also very common – items like a drill, a marker, a ruler and jig saw that most people already have on hand.”

In Louisiana, the lightweight silos are primarily used as a means to grow oysters and can be linked in series to a single water pump. The converted drums serve as effective nurseries for immature scallops and clams in other states, as well.

“This video is not for everyone,” said Roy Kron, the organizations director of outreach and communications. “However, we expect it will be an excellent learning tool and a cost-saving measure for some people working in the oyster industry.”



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About the Author

About the Author: Ed Lallo is the former editor of Gulf Seafood News and CEO of Newsroom Ink, an online brand journalism agency. .


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  1. Gef Flimlin says:

    Should mention that the 55 gallon drum should be food grade.
    Good job, Sup!

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