Manaco Shellfish Update March 27, 2008

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the shellfish pots with oysters, clams, & mussels are doing well. during the winter time, a 1-3 inch layer of sand can accumulate in the bottom of the shellfish pots. half of the oysters under this sand layer can die.

now that spring is here, there will be a puget sound wide plankton bloom and all the saltwater animals will be feeding and growing from march to november.

i've put the community club shellfish in the rectangular and circular pots below the old marine railway tracks area at the 0.0 low tide area. i also put one small community club oyster pot at around the +4.0 tide level by an old concrete railway support. the small oyster pot may be moved to the lower pots around july, when the warmer weather arrives.

there's lots of oysters (around 1,500) and native mussels in the community shellfish pots. any manaco beacher can take a clump of mussels or pick and choose the bigger ones. i boil mussels and small oysters in water and then dip them in butter.

i've cleared a path to the community pots, so it's easier/safer walking for us older people. anybody that wants to check out the shellfish, handle them, take some for eating, ect..., go ahead.

inside and around the pots is an variety interesting animals, like snails, hermit crabs, small eels, small bullheads, ect. the only animals i remove from the pots are starfish.

esecially during the winter time, there are clumps of eggs in the pots, left by various sea animal. the pots form a nice aquarium/reef for our native animals.

The below photo, shows where the community club pots are located, in line with the old concrete foundations from the manaco resort boat railway ties.

I made a walking trail to the community pots, to make it safer/easier walk to them. The rocks will roll back onto the trail after a big storm.

Shellfish pots with rebar thru the pots and sandbags over the rebar.

Japanese triploid (sexless) oysters. These oysters grow quick. There was a small bullhead in the pot. Pacific oysters need 68 degree water to reproduce. Some puget sound bays can reach that temperature, but none around camano that i know of.

The 2 year old native mussels are full grown. Mussels grow and reproduce easily on camano beaches. I think they are a food source for many local animals.

Manila clams are not native to washington state, but they grow well here and will reproduce. I've dug up two full size (probably 6+ years old) manila clams at manaco beach within the last two years. They probably floated in as larve from some other beach on camano or whidbey. I've hand planted some around manaco beach, and after a decade or two they should become established in the area. There's plenty of room on our beaches for another clam to reproduce and grow and be food for us humans and marine animals.

These are my shellfish pots in June 2007. There's a nice summer alge growth. The pots are made from marine grade materials. I'm surprised and happy, that very few barnacles are growing on the pots.

These are my shellfish pots at the +4.0 tide level. They are under water for 14-20 hours a day. Pots at the 0.0 tide level are under water for 20-24 hours a day.

The waves keep the shellfish shells clean, unlike calmer puget sound areas where mud/sand can collect on oyster/mussel shells.

Olympia oysters are native to south puget sound and willapa bay. The native indians ate olympia oysters and the 1850 whites, collected and shipped them to san francisco. They grow slow and don't get very big. They could reproduce in our camano waters, but they like calmer waters to attached to rocks and shells and survive.

Virginica oysters are native to the east coast. they are slower growing than pacific oysters, and also need warm waters to reproduce.

This is how oyster larve attaches to a clam/oyster shell in the wild. They will grow into a heavy cluster of oysters in odd shapes.

Below are some almost 2 year old oyster clusters.

Below are almost 2 year old Kumamoto oysters, native to japan. They're almost extinct in japan. Kumamoto oysters are slow growing and will not get very big. They are deep cupped with a frilly shell and are supposed to be one of the tastiest oysters.

  • Here's a few links to oyster/shellfish webpages that I like.