Front Cover
 Table of Contents

Group Title: United States Bureau of Fisheries. Doc. 890
Title: The oyster and the oyster industry of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055179/00001
 Material Information
Title: The oyster and the oyster industry of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
Series Title: United States Bureau of Fisheries. Doc. 890
Physical Description: 51 p. : illus., xxix pl. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Churchill, Edward Perry, 1882-1976
Publisher: Govt. Print. Off.
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1920
Subject: Oysters   ( lcsh )
Shellfish fisheries -- United States   ( lcsh )
Oyster fisheries -- U.S
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 50-51.
Statement of Responsibility: By E.P. Churchill.
General Note: At head of title: Department of commerce. Bureau of fisheries. Hugh M. Smith, commissioner.
General Note: "Appendix viii to the report of the U.S. commissioner of fisheries for 1919."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055179
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000612917
notis - ADE2132
oclc - 01856075
lccn - f 21000059

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Full Text

HUGH M. SMITH, Commalnonar



Assistant, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries


Bureau of Fisheries Document No. 890

Sold only by the Superintendent o Documents, Government Printing Offce
Washington, D. C.



Introduction.............................................................. 5
phical distribution ..................................-- ............. 6
o e iusett ............................ ....... --------.. ---.-. .-- .. 6
Rhode Island......................................................... 6
Connecticut.. ...................6...............---.* --- *--......... 6
New York ............................................................. 6
New Jersey .............................................-------..... 6
Delaware ............................................................. 6
Maryland...................d................--.----.----------.--.-*. 7
Vuginia......................... ....7................................
North Carolina ...................................-.................... 7
South Carolina........................................----...---............-- 7
Georjp ....................... ............................--..-----.. 7
Florida........................................-................---.- 7
Alabama...................................-...... ....- .....--- ...* 8
M ia s ppi............................................ ... ........... 8
... ....... ............. ......................... .... -.......- 8
Texa .............................................-... ----..... -- 8
Output of various regions............................................... 8
Description and a natomy .......................... ..----..........------ 9
Clan ification .......................................................... 9
External appearance ...............................................----------- 9
Anatomical feature.................................-.................. 9
Life history............................................................. 12

Reproduction.......................................................... 12
Growth .....................................................-........ 14
Factors of environment............................................................ 14
mp turf ..................................................... I
Denty of water... ...--------- ........----------------.. -------------- 15
Mud, t, and suspended matter.......................................................... 15
Tides and current.................................................. 16
Depth of water........................................................... 17
Freshets, storms, and ice................................................ 17
Food of the oyster.................................................... 19
Natural beds...................................................................... 20
Development and description......................................... 20
Depletion......................................................... 2 24
Cultivation............................................ .................... 25
Artificial propagation................................................ 25
Legal considerations.................................................. 26
Proc und................................................... 26
MarTing d ...................................................... 27
Methods of oyster culture.............................................. 7
Catching of spat, or "set"......................................... 27
Cuitch......................................................... 29
Character and preparation of bottom........................... 29
Time for planting cultch........................................ 29
location of cultch beds........................................... 31
Location of spawning beds................................. 32
General desirability of planting cultch........................ 33
Planting seed oysters ................... -33
Seed.................................................... ... 34
Water........................................................ 35
Food........................................................ 35
Bottom................................................. ... 36
Sowing the seed................................................ 36
Care of beds......................................... .......... 36


Cultivation-Continued. P
Protection against enemies. ............................................ 36
tarish................. ........... ............. 36
Dr ll .. .......................................................... 37
Drumfish........................... .............................. 38

W after or "leech" ... ........................................... 40
Taking oysters from the beds................-----....-...-...........-. 40
Tongs....................... ...... .. .4 0 ------------- -- 40
Patent tongs...........................--------....................... 41
Small tong and nipper................................... 41
Toat bng at .................. ...................................... 41
and dredging boat ............................................. 42
Satwhar......................................................... 43
Flo ating ................................................................... 43
Preparation for market or shipment.......................................... 44
In the shell ........................................................... 44
hucked,a on ice.............................. ..................... 45
Canningoyte ................................................. 46
Disp'tion of oyster hells .. ......... ................ 48
Legal regulations ............ .......................-- .. ....-- ..-......-- -- 49
Bibliography ........ ................................................... 50

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


About one-hatf -tural size.



By E. P. CURCHILL, Jr., Asistant, U. S. Bureau of Fishries.


The taking of oysters constitutes the most valuable fishery of the
United States and one of the most valuable in the world. The
annual yield in this country is about 30,000,000 bushels, with a return
to the fishermen of nearly $15,000,000. At least 99 per cent of the
oysters of the United States are produced on the Atlantic and Gulf
coasts, as shown by the following table:
[From statistics collected by the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries.]

Region. Private grounds. Public grounds. Total.

Bushels. Value. Bushels. Value. Bushels. Value.
New England States (1910).... 5,549,318 $3,439,450 92,703 $157,584 5,942,021 $3,597,034
Middle Atlantic States
(1911-12).................... 7,090,883 5,204,124 11815,193 4,059,432 18,906,076 9,263,556
South Atlantic States (1910).. 456,194 171,298 1,244,804 192,886 1,700,998 364,184
Gulf States (1918)....... .... 1,227,969 528,123 2,165,526 578,597 3,393,495 1,006,720
Pacific Coast States (1915).... 152,560 548,005 3;544 8,619 156,104 556,624
Total................... 14,476,924 9,891,000 15,301,770 4,997,118 30,098,694 14,788,118

The report of the Commissioner of Fisheries for 1913 stated that
the total number of persons engaged in the oyster industry of the
United States was 67,257, the yearly wages paid amounting to
$10,876,801, and that the investment in vessels, apparatus, property,
etc., was over $17,000,000.a

On the eastern and southern coasts of the United States oysters are
found from Wellfleet, Mass., on the inner shore of Cape Cod, to the
southern extremity of Texas. The industry on these coasts is
bounded by the same limits. Although in past times oysters were
found in Maine and New Hampshire, practically none occurs there
now, and these two coastal States alone have no oyster industry.
The location of the main oyster beds in each State concerned and
the principal towns in which the industry is centered are cited below.
The Atlantic and Gulf coast is not lined with a solid bed of oysters
along its entire length. Oysters are not found in the open sea, but in
coves, bays, estuaries, and mouths of rivers-in a word, in partially
a Report U. S. Commissioner of Fisheries, 1913, p. 40. Washington.


inclosed waters rendered brackish by drainage from the land. This
fact will become more apparent during the reading of the ensuing

The main oyster beds are in Wellfleet Harbor, in the waters in the
vicinity of Chatham, in Cotuit Harbor, and in Poponesset Bay.
Some oysters are also taken from Centerville Harbor and from the
mouths of Wareham and Taunton Rivers. The principal towns con-
cerned are Wellfleet, Chatham, Cotuit, and Falmouth. The oysters
are shipped in the shell or shucked, on ice.

The main oyster beds are in Narragansett Bay, the industry being
centered at Providence, where there are about a half dozen oyster-
houses. The oysters are shipped in the shell or shucked, on ice.

Although oysters are found alongpractically the entire coast, the
rincipalbeds are inside Thimble islands in New Haven Harbor
Miord Bay, Bridgeport Harbor, South Norwalk Harbor, around
Great Captains Island, and in the deeper water offshore from these
places. All the oysters are shipped in the shell or shucked, on ice.
There are 6 oyster houses at South Norwalk, 16 at New Haven, and 1
each at Milford, Stony Creek, Guilford, and New London.

The oyster beds of New York are in the waters around Long Island.
The oysters are shipped in the shell or shucked, on ice. There are 4
oyster houses at Greenport, 1 at Suffolk, and 2 at Northport, on the
north side of the island. On the south, West Sayville and Patchogue
are the centers of the oyster trade, there being extensive beds in Great
South Bay. New York City is the great center of the oyster trade of
the State.

The main oyster beds are in Raritan, Barnegat, and Great Bay, on
the eastern coast, the oysters being handled chiefly at Tuckerton and
Keysport; and in Delaware Bay, on the west, especially in Maurice
Cove and vicinity. The oysters from this region are shipped from
Bivalve, where there are several houses handling oysters in the shell
or shucked, on ice.

The oyster beds are in Delaware Bay, mainly from Bombay Hook
to below the mouth of St. James Creek. Most of the oysters are
marketed through Bivalve, N. J.



The principal oyster beds are in the Chesapeake Bay, there being
some, however, in Chincoteague Bay and Potomac River. The num-
ber of oyster houses at the main centers of trade are as follows: Cris-
field, 40; Baltimore, 28 (15 being oyster canneries); Cambridge, 25;
Oxford, 15; Annapois, 13; Tilghman, 8; and St. Michaels, 6. There
are about 160 oyster houses iin in the State. Baltimore is the only
city in the State where oysters are steamed and canned, and is the
most nbrtherly point on the coast where this process is employed.
The waters covering the main oyster beds of the State are those of
Chesapeake Bay, Chincoteague Bay, and the eastern coast of Accomac
and Northampton Counties, and the Potomac, Rappahannock, York,
and James Rivers. There are about 35 oyster houses, 19 at Norfolk
and Portsmouth, 2 at Hampton, 1 at Phoebus, 3 at West Point,
2 at Urbanna, and others scattered about in Northampton, Middle-
sex, Lancaster and Accomac Counties. The oysters are shipped
in the shell or shucked, on ice, none being canned. One firm prepares
an oyster powder from the dried meats.
Four-fifths of the oyster beds of this State are in Pamlico Sound.
There is one cannery at each of the following points: Beaufort,
Morehead City, Washington, Vandimere, Davis, Bay River, and
Sea Level. There is one shucking house, or "raw house," as such a
place is termed in the South to distinguish it from a cannery, at
Newbern and several at Wilmington.
Most of the oyster beds are in St. Helena and Port Royal Sounds
near the southern extremity of the coast. There are five canneries
at Charleston and six at Beaufort, besides two or three at smaller
The oyster beds are found along the entire coast line, especially
in St. Catherines Sapelo Do Boy, Altamaha, St. Simons, St. Andrews,
and Cumberland Sounds. There are 18 canneries in the State-
four at Savannah, and the rest scattered along the coast. There are
five wholesale dealers in raw oysters, besides several retailers at
Savannah, Brunswick, and other points.
The principal oyster industry of the State is located at Apalachi-
cola, where there are four canneries and nearly a dozen raw houses,
the oysters coming from Apalachicola Bay and contiguous waters.
There is a small oyster business at Carabelle and some beds at Cedar
Keys. A few oysters are canned at Fernandina, on the east coast.
There is a small local oyster business at other points in the State.


The oysters are found in the lower part of Mobile Bay and the
east end of Mississippi Sound. There are 13 dealers in oysters in
Mobile, but most of the oysters are opened or reshipped in the shell
at Bayou Labatre and small adjacent points on the Mississippi
Sound. The only oyster cannery in the State is located at Bayou
The principal oyster beds in this State are in Mississippi Sound, but
90 per cent of the oysters opened in the State are brought from
Louisiana waters, especially from St. Bernard Parish. At Biloxi
there are 12 canneries and 6 raw houses, the only city having a
larger number of canneries being Baltimore, Md., which has 15.
The following Mississippi cities have one cannery and one or two raw
houses each: Gulfport, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, and Ocean
The principal oyster beds are in the waters on the east of St.
Bernard Pash, although important beds are found on the coast of
Terrebonne and Plaquemines Parishes, and others are being devel-
oped to the westward. As a result of experiments conducted by the
U. S. Bureau of Fisheries between 1906 and 1909, valuable oyster
beds were established in Barataria Bay. These were subsequently
broken up by a hurricane and the oysters washed about to different
parts of the bay. From the natural propagation of the oysters so
scattered several beds developed which have grown to be of consider-
able value. There are about 24 wholesale oyster dealers in New
Orleans. One cannery is located near New Orleans, two farther
down the river, two or three at Houma in Terrebonne Parish, and a
new one is just starting at Franklin.
The principal oyster beds of this State are in Galveston, West,
Matagorda, Lavaca, Espiritu Santo, Aransas, Mesquite, and Corpus
Christi Bays. There are from two to six oyster-shucking houses at
Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Rockport, Port O'Connor, Port Lavaca,
Seadrift, Palacios, Matagorda, and Galveston. There are no oyster
canneries in this State.

Chesapeake Bay produces more oysters than any other body of
water in the world." Some notion of the size of the industry there
may be gained from Plate XVIII, figure 1, showing the oyster fleet
operating out of Cambridge, Md., which is only one of the several
large oyster centers on this bay. Virginia and Maryland, within
whose borders Chesapeake Bay is embraced, lead the United States
in oyster production with over 5,000,000 bushels each annually.6
Smith, H. M. Oyste: The World's Most Valuable Water Crop. National Geogrphio Maaxsine,
Ba h mm Flshades, 1918, p. 4. Whngton.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


A., anus; A. M.. adductor muscle; Au., auricle of heart; D., digestive gland or liver; G.,
gills; I., intestine; M., mantle; Mo.. mouth; 0., oesophagus; P., palps; R., reproduc-
tive organ; S., stomach; V., ventricle of heart. (Photo from American Museum of
Natural History.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


-. ,--.

1. Li)


FIG. 1.-SPERMATOZOON OF MALE OYSTER. Magnifie 1,700 diameters. (AfterStafford.)
FIG. 2.-OYSTER EGG. Magnified 600 diameters.
300 diameters.
EXTENDED. Magnified 300 diameters.
(Figs. 2 3, and 4 drawn by J. S. Gutsell.)



Connecticut is third with over 4,000,000 bushels. Rhode Island,
New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana produce over 1,000,000
bushels annually.
The oyster of commerce in the United States, with the exception
of certain parts of the Pacific coast, is the so-called "eastern oyster,"
belonging to the species Ostrea virginica, Gmelin. It is a member
of the group of molluscs popularly known as bivalves, since it has
two valves, or shells, which are joined at the narrower ends by a
The figures in Plates I, XX, and XXI, though reduced in size,
give an idea of the usual shape and appearance of the oyster. The
average length of the shells of the marketable size is about 5 inches.
Oysters, however, may grow to much greater dimensions, and under
certain conditions of growth, such as crowding or development on
a mud bottom, are forced into various distorted or elongated shapes.
The shell of the adult oyster varies greatly in thickness, ranging
in extreme cases from somewhat less than one-fourth inch to an
inch and one-fourth. The usual thickness is from one-fourth to
three-eighths inch, decreasing to paperlike thinness on the margins
of a rapidly growing shell.
The exterior is marked by laminations and more or less concentric lines of growth;
it is often covered by a yellowish cuticle, but is sometimes white and flinty in appear-
ance. The inside of the shell is generally white, somewhat tinged with purple near
the margins, and with a more or less pearly luster. The muscular impression is gen-
erally nearer to the posterior margin than to the hinge; it is a well-defined scar, kidney-
shaped in specimens of ordinary size, but becoming more elongate in very large indi-
viduals; in young specimens it is pale, but it afterwards becomes purple or almost
black. The left, or lower, valve is deeply concave within, the upper valve being
flat or, usually, slightly concave. The animal portions are large, nearly filling the
shell, and the mantle border is comparatively narrow.b
The two valves of the shell of the oyster are held together at the
hinge by a dark-colored elastic ligament so placed that it tends to
throw the free ends of the valves slightly apart when the large
muscle of the oyster is cut or relaxed. The main structures of
interest making up the body of the oyster are shown in Plate II and
in text figure 1. Plate II represents an oyster lying in the left valve,
which is deeper than the right, and more cup-shaped. This is also
nearly always the valve by which the oyster is attached to rocks, etc.
The flatter right valve is represented as having been removed. The
narrow part of the oyster is the anterior or front end, the mouth
being located in that region. The broad part is the posterior or
rear end. The back or dorsal side is at the top of the picture and
the ventral or under side below. The oyster, however, being at-
tached by its left side, may rest in the water in any conceivable
position, depending on the surface to which it has fastened itself.
SThe brief account of the anatomy and life history of the oyster is based chiefly on the researches of
Brooks (1895), Julius Nelsn (1888-18B and 1900-1916), and Stafford (1913).
SMoore, H. F. (18B7, p. 266.)


Each valve or shell is lined with a thin membrane called the mantle,
fringed on the edge and attached to the shell over nearly all its ex-
panse, but free along the margin. The right mantle has been re-
moved with the shell in Plate II. In about the center of the body
is the large adductor muscle, by the contraction of which the oyster
closes its shell. As stated above, when this muscle is relaxed or
cut the ligament in the hinge forces the valves apart. The main
body of the oyster lies between the right and left sides of the mantle
and is attached to it and the adductor muscle. It will thus be seen
that the oyster is held to the shell by the mantle and the muscle.
In Plate II part of the body wall is represented as having been re-
moved with the right side of the mantle, thus exposing to view the
liver or digestive grand and the esophagus or gullet leading from the
mouth to the stomach, which opens into the intestine. This extends
downward and backward beneath the muscle, then curves sharply
and runs forward on the left of the stomach to the esophagus,
where it again turns to the rear and extends backward to the vent
or anus above the muscle.
In a thin-walled sac, the pericardium, immediately in front of the
muscle, lies the real heart of the oyster. (The adductor muscle is
often erroneously referred to as the "heart," since when it is cut
the oyster eventually dies from inablility to close its valves.) The
circulatory system of the oyster is of the "open" type; that is, the
arteries do not terminate in capillaries which lead to the veins, as
in man, but deliver the blood, which is colorless, into large spaces,
or lacunae, between the tissues. The blood, as it spreads through
these lacunae, bathes the various cells of the body and is then gathered
up by the veins and collected in the auricle or lower chamber of the
heart. It then passes into the ventricle, or upper chamber, which
contracts and forces the blood through arteries to the different parts
of the body. A hinged valve between the two chambers of the heart
prevents the bloodbeing driven back into the auricle.
The nervous system of the oyster (not shown in the figures) is
very simple, consisting of two ganglia or knots of nervous matter,
lying just over the gullet and two nerves passing back from them,
one on each side, to another pair of ganga beneath the adductor
muscle. Smaller nerves extend from these two pairs of ganglia to
the various parts of the body.
At the anterior end of the body four thin lips or palps hang free in
the mantle cavity and extend backward from beneath the mouth for
about one-third the length of the body, the posterior ends lapping
under the ends of the gills. The latter, four in number, are somewhat
similar to the palps in appearance, and extend backward and upward
in crescent fashion, as shown in Plate II. Microscopic examination
shows that the gills are covered on both sides with very fine hairs or
cilia, arranged m rows. These beat back and forth and, when the
oyster is lying with the valves open, cause a current of sea water to
pass on to the gills. The water is forced through fine openings on
the surfaces of the gills into water tubes inside the gills and thence
into the cavity above them. As the water passes through the gills
the blood is aerated as in the case of a fish. In Plate II the openings
of the tubes can be seen on the inner edge of the gills. The right
mantle having been removed, the cavity into which the water passes
is exposed. It lies in the space just above the inner edge of the gills.


From this cavity the water passes behind the adductor muscle and
out between the edges of the valves of the shell around the rear end
of the gills, at a point in the upper left of the figure.
The food of the oyster consists entirely of minute animal and vegetable organisms
and small particles of organized matter. Ordinary sea water contains an abundance
of this sort of food, which is drawn into the gills with the water, but as the water
strains through the pores into the water tubes the food particles are caught on the
surface of the gills by a layer of adhesive slime which covers all the soft parts of the
body. As soon as they are entangled the cilia strike against them in such a way as
to roll or slide them along the gills.toward the mouth. When they reach the anterior
ends of the gills they are pushed off and fall between the lips, and these again are
covered with cilia, which carry the particles forward until they slide into the mouth,
which is always wide open and cited, so as to draw the food through the esophagus
into the stomach. Whenever the shell is open these cili are in action, and as long as
the oyster is breathing a current of food is sliding into its mouth.a
The food then passes to the stomach, is acted on by the fluids from
the liver, and moves along the intestine. The nutritive portion is

6 n//.

Fro. I.-Diagram of dissection of oyster to show reproductive organ, consisting of the bran g tbul
sipad over the dotted portion, as, auricle of rt; d external opening of reproductive organ;
addur e; oth; p,lps; vedcle of heart; poster end of gills. Abo
natrarlsize. (After Moore.)
absorbed and the feces are thrown out the vent in long, ribbonlike
form and carried outside the shell with the stream of water passing
out from the chamber over the gills.
The position, form, and general appearance of the reproductive
organs of the oyster are the same for both sexes. Really there is but
one reproductive organ, which consists of a mass made up of micro-
scopic tubules and connective tissue lying between the folds of the
intestine and investing it and the stomach and liver in such a manner
as to cover the visceral organs when the opened oyster is viewed from
either side. In Plate II most of the reproductive organ has been
removed, a small portion being shown about the folds of the intestine.
Text figure 1 represents an oyster with the left valve and mantle
removed, showing the reproductive organ as it appears from the
left side, covering the visceral mass and partially surrounding the
heart and adductor muscle. Numerous ducts arise from the organ,
unite into one and open at point d below the adductor muscle. A view
a Brooks, W. K. (1880 p.9.)


of the right side of the organ would present practically the same
appearance, there being a similar system of ducts opening on that'
side beneath the muscle. Through these two openings the genital
products are discharged into the water at spawning time.
The oyster may spawn when the water reaches a temperature-of
68 F., but spawning proceeds at normal speed only when the water
is 700 or above. For this reason the spawning period varies in
different regions, depending on the temperature of the water, which
is regulated by the depth of the water and the general meteorological
conditions. Shallow bodies of water, even though in more northern
latitudes, often become warm as early or earlier than deeper waters
farther south. In the north, where the season is shorter, the spawn-
ing period is relatively short, often lasting only two or three weeks,
while in the south oysters may be found in a spawning condition
from early spring until fall.
In Long Island Sound, the bulk of the oysters spawn about the
last of July; in Great South Bay, spawnmg occurs from about
June 5 until after the Fourth of July. In New Jersey waters spawn-
ing begins about June 1. Spawng extends in Chesapeake Bay
from May until September. On the Gulf coast, spawning begins in
March and spawning oysters may be found as late as November.
In spite of the fact that the sex of the oyster can not be distinguished
by the external appearance of the shell, of the body, or of the repro-
ductive organs, the sexes are separate. Some oysters are male, the
reproductive organs developing spermatozoa or milt; other oysters
are female and produce ova or eggs. While it has at times been
stated that the sex might change from year to year, an oyster being
perhaps male one year and female the next, or the reverse, there is
no evidence on which to base this belief, except some inconclusive
researches made nearly 50 years ago and not borne out by sub-
sequent investigations. It can be almost conclusively stated that
the sex of the eastern oyster is permanent and does not change
during the life of the individual.
The sexes can be distinguished only by an examination of the
products discharged by the reproductive organs. The spermatozoa
and eggs are so extremely small that a lens must be employed to
distinguish one from the other. The eggs (P1. III, fig. 2) vary from
roughly pear-shaped to oval or nearly spherical and measure about
-6 of an inch in diameter. It is estimated that a female oyster will
produce over 16,000,000 eggs. The male genital products, or sperma-
tozoa, are many times smaller than the eggs. Each spermatozoon
(P. II, fig. 1) is made up of a head about Tm of an inch in
diameter, pointed at one end and flattened at the other. To this
flat base is attached a very slender threadlike tail about 20 times
the length of the head. This tail lashes about and moves the
spermatozoon around in the water after it has been discharged by
the male oyster.


Fertilization of the eggs occurs in the water. The oysters, male
and female, lying about over the bottom, at spawning time discharge
the reproductive elements into the water where they mingle as chance
may bring about. The more numerous the oysters on a particular
bed, the greater the chance of the actively moving spermatozoa
meeting the eggs. The spermatozoa swarm around the eggs, many
about each one, until a spermatozoon penetrates the egg membrane,
the head only of the spermatozoon passing on in, the tail dropping
off. The material of the head unites with that of the egg, and
important changes in the latter are thereby initiated.
The single cell of the egg begins to divide into many cells and to
change its form and in the course of from 5 to 10 hours develops
into a small oyster larva, which swims by means of fine hairs or cilia
on the outside of its body. A shell then begins to develop and soon
covers the entire body, so that the larva resembles a tiny hard clam.
A definite organ of locomotion also appears, consisting of a disk,
known as the velum, borne on the end of a thick stalk which is pro-
truded from between the valves of the shell in front. The disk
bears cilia which by their movement enable the larva to swim about
rapidly (P1. III, fig. 4). When the velum is retracted the larva
settles to the bottom.
The larva is now about two days old and measures about 0.08 mm.
in length. As it increases in size certain elevations, the umbones,
can be noted on the upper part of the hinge, one on each side. Shortly
one valve becomes much deeper than the other, and the umbo on
it much more prominent than that on the right side, and by this
characteristic the oyster larva may be readily distinguished under
the microscope from the larval form of any other bivalve. The
deeper valve is the left one and that by which the oyster later becomes
attached. During the advanced stages of the larval form, the left
umbo is very conspicuous, jutting back in almost the form of a
hook (P1. IIr, fig. 3).
The period passed through by the oyster larva from the develop-
ment of the cilia, a few hours after fertilization, until it "sets" or
"strikes" is known as the free-swimming stage. Although the
larva swims about freely in the water, being so small, its move-
ments and location at any particular time arelargely subject to the
tides and currents. The free-swimming period lasts from about 14
to 18 days in the more northern waters and a somewhat shorter
time in the southern. The warmer the water the more rapidly
development occurs and consequently the shorter the free-swimming
At the close of the free-swimming period, when the oyster is about
one-third of a millimeter (one seventy-fifth of an inch) long, it "sets"
if the proper conditions are present. It attaches itself by the left
valve to some surface in the water, a rock, shell, stake, in fact almost
any object (P1. IV).
The first essential is that the surface should be clean and that it should remain so
a sufficient length of time to enable the young oyster to firmly establish itself. So
long as this condition obtains, the nature of the material seems to matter but little.
In most bodies of water the spat fixes itself at all levels from the surface to the bottom
but in certain parts of the coast its place of attachment is confined to the zone between
high and low water, the midtide mark being the place of maximum fixation.a
aMoore, H. F. (1897, p. 274.)


Once secured, the swimming organ disappears and the oyster never
wanders again of its own volition.


The shell is secreted by the mantle, the membrane lining the shell.
Horny material is first deposited over the outer surface of the mantle
and to this is added lime, forming the familiar hard shell. As the
mantle increases in size with the general growth of the rest of the
body, and as it can be extended somewhat from between the edges
of the valves, new shell material is added to the inner surface of the
valve and to the outer edge. This makes each valve thick in the
central portion, sloping to a condition of extreme thinness at the
edges. The outer edges of the valves of a rapidly growing oyster
are so thin and knifeike that care must be exercised in handling
them to avoid cutting the fingers.
The rate of growth of oysters varies widely, depending on tem-
perature, density and food content of the water, season of the year,
and other factors. Its growth is more rapid in the warmer southern
waters than in the colder northern. In Long Island Sound about
four years are required for an oyster to reach a length of 4 to 5 inches,
or marketable size. In southern waters that size is reached in two
years. Oysters if left undisturbed may attain a length of 8 to 10
iches or more. While the exact age which an oyster may reach
can not be definitely stated, oysters have been found which appeared
from the number of layers in the shell to be at least 15 years of age.
Oysters which have unrestricted space for growth acquire the normal
shape shown in Plates I, XX, and XXI. When crowded together,
the shape becomes modified, even greatly distorted at times. Often
numerous set will fasten upon a relatively small piece of cultch, and
as growth proceeds a crowded cluster of oysters will result. If
broken apart by pressure of growth or by artificial means, their
shape will improve.
The crowding of oysters reaches its climax upon the "raccoon" oyster beds. Rac-
coon oysters are usually found in localities where the bottom is soft and the only
firm place which offers itself for the attachment of the spat is upon the shells of its
ancestors. Temperature and other conditions are favorable, growth is rapid, the young
oysters are crowded into the most irregular shapes, the shells are long, thin, and sharp-
edged, and eventually the mass of young is so dense that it crowds out and smothers
the preceding generations which produced it and offered means for its attachment.
Oysters crowded in this excessive manner are poor-flavored, as well as ill-shaped,
but both defects are corrected if they be broken apart, as may be readily done, and
planted elsewhere.a

The fact that the oyster is found from Cape Cod to Mexico shows
that it can become adapted to living in waters of considerable differ-
ence of temperature and in certain regions may withstand wide
changes during the course of the seasons. In Long Island Sound
*Mooe, H. F. (1807, p. 275.
* The oue of tis secti on, ctors of Environment," and of the one following, "Natural Beds," and
the detail of certain topi thwaln, pecfn stated in each such case, are sustnty prepared
Dr. H F. Moore, Deputy commsoer of n s for an unooplieted reviaou of hs "yna
Methods of Oyster Cutu"(187).


the temperature over the oyster beds falls in winter nearly to 320 F
the freezing point, and in summer rises to 720 in deep water and
75 to 780 over the inshore beds. In Chesapeake Bay oysters in
certain shallow water beds withstand variatiorf from the freezing
point, below 32 to 90 F.& In the Gulf of Mexico the usual range
of temperature over the oyster beds is from 50 to 900 F. The rela-
tion between temperature and the spawning of oysters has been
discussed on page 12.

The higher the proportion of salt contained in. sea water the
greater the density. Therefore, it is common practice to estimate
the proportion of salt by measuring the density of the water with the
salinometer. This consists of a glass bulb with a narrow stem at one
end on which are grading reading from 1.000 to 1.031. The bulb
is weighted at the end opposite the stem, so that it will sink some-
what below the surface, leaving the stem projecting from the water.
The less salt in the water the less the density and the lower the
salinometer will sink. Fresh water is arbitrarily considered as
1.000 and the point on the stem of the salinometer to which the water
reaches when the instrument is placed in fresh water is so marked.
Grades are marked below that on the stem, the bulb rising higher
in the water the greater the density. The highest grade is usually
1.031. For convenience three bulbs are usually used, one reading
from 1.000 to 1.011, one from 1.010 to 1.021, and one from 1.020 to
1.031. Common sea water usually reads from 1.025 to 1.026 on the
salinometer. Oysters are found in water ranging in density from
1.002 to 1.025, but can not withstand densities lower than 1.007
for indefinite periods. In general they seem to thrive best in
densities between 1.011 and 1.022.
Oysters are not usually found out in the main body of the sea-
water, away from the influence of the fresh water from the streams,
where the density is 1.025 or more. It will thus be apparent that
oysters have become adapted to a certain range of densities, and
natural beds have grown up at points fairly cose to shore or in
inclosed bays where the salinity of the seawater is modified by the
inflowing of fresh water.
A bottom composed of slightly shifting sands or of very soft mud
into which the adult oysters will sink and on which the minute spat
can gain no firm support is alike unfavorable to oyster culture and
to the development of natural beds. If, however, hard objects be
distributed on or above such bottoms they will become collectors of
spat so long as they remain clean and free from slime or sediment,
and if it be desired to produce permanent beds or to catch the float-
ing spat for the purpose of seeding other beds it is manifest that,
the scouring action of the currents being equal, waters containing
a minimum of sedimentary matter are to be preferred to those more
or less laden with mud.
aMoore H. F. (S, p. 30.)
b Mooar, H. F. Propmd reviio "Oysters and Methods of Oyster Culture" (1W).


In this connection a distinction must be drawn between beds used
for seed production and those employed in growing and fattening
stock for the market. Oysters will frequently grow more rapidly
in silt-laden waters, on muddy bottoms, or in their vicinity, than
they will elsewhere, as such places are usually more productive of
food organisms, owing to the larger amount of dissolved material
available for the sustenance of the minute plants which constitute
a considerable part of the food of the oyster.
Even adult oysters may be destroyed, however, by heavy deposits
of silt such as often result from freshets and crevasses. For the
purposes of seed culture or the establishment of self-perpetuating
beds the most desirable waters are those which contain an abundance
of microscopic vegetation with a minimum of suspended inorganic
particles, although an organic slime such as rapidly forms on sub-
merged surfaces in some localities is as effective in preventing the
fixation of spat as is inorganic sediment. In many places in Chesa-
peake Bay and in the bays on the New Jersey coast the sediment,
as well as the bottom mud, is largely composed of finely comminuted
fragments of seaweeds and other vegetable matter the rapid deposit
of which soon covers with a flocculent film the surfaces of all objects
exposed to it, excepting when the currents are sufficiently strong to
exert a scouring influence. During warm weather this organic
deposit is likely to undergo rapid decomposition, the toxic products
of which sicken and kill the oysters.
The more or less constant dribbling of fine material upon the
bottom has comparatively little effect upon adult oysters, operating
mainly to cover the shells and prevent the attachment of spat or to
stifle the young oysters after attachment. This rain of fine material
occurs almost everywhere but especially where the currents are weak,
and it is generally in the latter localities that it is of sufficient volume
to be obnoxious.
The effects of tides and currents upon the development and growth
of oysters are quite important. The genital products, cast directly
into the water as previously stated, are moved about so that more
opportunity is afforded for the contact of the spermatozoa of the
male with the eggs of the female.
The free-swimming larvae are carried to and fro by the tides and
currents, and thus when large enough to set are often some distance
from where they were spawned. The importance of this fact in the
method of oyster culture by planting cultch is very great and the
matter is discussed under a separate section on page 31.
Tides and currents tend to prevent the fouling of material upon
which the larve set by washing away silt and debris. In still water,
as in an inclosed bay, the suspended debris has an opportunity to
settle upon the cultch and form a slime and film which prevents the
attachment of the larvae. If the larvae have attached, the deposit
is often sufficient to smother them.
Since the food of oysters consists of microscopic materials found
in the water (see p. 19), it follows that currents affect the distribu-
tion of the food of the oyster. In still water, nearly all the organ-
isms might settle to the bottom or those in the neighborhood of the


oyster might become exhausted. Currents keep the material agi-
tated and cause a fresh supply to sweep across the oyster beds.
Movement of the water also brings a fresh supply of oxygen to
the oyster which aerates the blood by oxygen derived from the water
passed through its gills.
The known vertical range of oysters under natural conditions is
from or near high-water mark to a depth of about 130 feet, the
latter extreme occurring over densely stocked and productive beds
in Patuxent River, Md. In a large part of the oyster region of
South Carolina the natural beds occur almost exclusively between
high and low water marks, and some of the beds of Florida are
similarly situated, the oysters growing on the aerial roots of man-
groves, as they frequently or generally do in Porto Rico and others
of the West Indies. In places on the Gulf coast oysters set and
grow in limited numbers in the grass on the edges of the marsh
prairies above the level reached by many high tides, but in such
situations they are frequently killed by freezing.
In the Mississippi delta region a good set is often obtained on
cultch planted at or near high-water mark, but the young oysters
are removed to deeper water before cold weather arrives.
Elsewhere oysters are rarely planted in this country on bottoms
exposed at low water. In most places comparatively shallow depths
ranging from 2 to 12 or 15 feet are utilized in oyster culture, but in
Long Island Sound the practice has been successfully extended to
depths of 60 feet or more.

Freshets occur with more or less frequency in the rivers discharg-
ing near the oyster beds of many of the South Atlantic and Gulf
Coast States, and with them are to be classed the crevasses or breaks
in the levees which sometimes accompany high water in the coastal
streams of Louisiana.
The effects of a freshet are twofold. The most immediate effect
is that, owing to the vastly increased volume of fresh water dis-
charged, the salinity of the water over the oyster beds is reduced
far below the normal and in many cases becomes fresh or practically
so for considerable periods. As already stated in another connec-
tion, this is often fatal to the oysters already on the beds, and, even
when this is not the case, the production of a set is inhibited during
the prevalence of the abnormal conditions.
Freshets also carry large quantities of mud and debris scoured
from old channels and washed from the land, and as the currents
slacken in the bays and estuaries, where the oyster abounds, their
carrying power diminishes, and the materials are dropped on the beds.
If the deposits so made be deep, the old oysters may be killed, while
even a light deposit is sufficient to prevent the attachment of spat
until it be again gradually scoured from the shells and other hard
bodies on the bottom.
a Moore, H. F. Proposed revision of "Oysters and Methods of Oyster Culture" (1897).


It sometimes happens that a freshet of unusual severity, while
disastrous in its immediate effects, results eventually in an increased
productiveness of the beds. If the disaster be due to a prolonged
freshening of the water without an undue deposit of silt, the shells
are often left in a much-improved condition. This is apparently
due in part to the more active scouring action of currents of more
than usual velocity, but mainly to the destruction of the organic
slime, which often covers the shells in sea water, and the cultch is
thereby left in a more favorable condition for the attachment of
spat carried from more or less distant beds. The fresh water also
exterminates the drills which feed on the little oysters, and, as Dr.
Moore's observations of improved sets under the conditions described
indicate that sets usually occur in waters of rather high normal
salinity, where the drill ordinarily thrives, it is probable that this
action of the fresh water is no unimportant beneficial factor. The
oysters, from the nature of their reproductive and developmental
characteristics, are able to reestablish themselves much more rapidly
than their enemies.
Gales, to have an effect on adult oysters in moderately deep water,
must be of extraordinary severity, but they frequently do great
damage or exterminate beds in shoal water. The waves sometimes
pick up the oysters and throw them on the beach, but more fre-
quently they are destroyed by being buried in situ by sand, sea-
weeds, and debris piled up by the sea. Cases are known of where
well-established beds have been overwhelmed by such deposits and
others in which thick strata of sand between layers of old shells indi-
cate a succession of such disasters in the more or less remote history
of the beds.
Sometimes the eroding effect of currents and waves will uncover
the buried oysters and shells, and the beds will again reestablish
themselves through the attachment of young; but in other cases the
beds are permanently destroyed. The former is the usual result
when the reefs rise rather abruptly from the surrounding bottom,
and the latter is frequent when they are but little elevated above
the general floor of the sea. Planted beds, which usually lie at the
general level of the bottom, are usually permanently covered.
Gales are sometimes agents in the establishment of new beds,
carrying oysters and shells to surrounding barren bottoms, where
they form a nucleus that gradually develops into economic impor-
tance. Certain productive beds at the eastern end of Mississippi
Sound, by character and by repute, appear to have been so estab-
The free-wimming larvae are more susceptible to the weather
conditions than are the adults, and cold rain storms, which would
have no effect on the latter, undoubtedly kill large numbers of the
swimming young. This was first noticed by Ryder and has been
amply corroborated.a
Ice is occasionally destructive to oyster beds quite independently
of the factor of temperature. When heavy ice grounds at extremely
low tides, it sometimes crushes the oysters or presses them into
SThe author and 8. Gtaee during the study of the occurrence of ree-wimmnng Ao rvM
Great omth Bay, 11 t found t the average number In 80 gallons of water wa 8 an July 8 Avo-
lent squall and rain of Led, tgetr with a drop ln temrt of 'F. On as soon uas coleo.
ti.s could be made, the average number had dropped to larv per Ogallon water.


the bottom, and occasionally they freeze fast to the underside of
the ice and are carried away when it floats.
The food of the oyster consists of microscopic plants and animals
and organic detritus growing or found in the water on and above
the bottoms on which the oysters lie, or carried to such waters
by currents.
A large proportion of the oyster's food is made up of the plant
forms which are known as diatoms. There are many species of
diatoms, typical forms being shown in text figure 2. Diatoms are
found in more or less abundance in almost all waters, varying greatly

FIG. 2.-Typlaldistoos, which make up lar rt of the food of the oyster. Magnified about 500 times.
(After Moore)

in numbers in different places and at different seasons in the same
place or in the same season of different years.
Diatoms derive their sustenance from the various organic mate-
rials washed down from the land and held in solution in the water.
These organic fertilizers consist of decayed and decaying vegetable
and animal matter gathered up from the land by the water result-
ing from rains and carried down streams and rivers to the sea. The
food supply of oysters is thus directly affected by the character of
the soil adjoining the tributaries leading to the water over the beds,
by the kind and amount of forest or other vegetation and animal
life on that soil, by the industries carried on there, and by the amount
and seasons of rainfall.
While a large portion of the food of the oyster is made up of
diatoms, considerable numbers of microscopic animal forms are


also eaten. The recent work of Dr. T. C. Nelson a shows that a
larger proportion of the oyster's food is of this nature than was
formerly supposed. Copepods, or "water-fleas," the free-swimming
larvae of snails and bivalves (including the oyster), worms, rotifers,
and protozoa have been found in the stomach of the oyster. These
animals, like the plants, are found in greater or less abundance in
all waters. A systematic effort to ascertain the food content avail-
able for oysters in any particular water should include the determi-
nation of the quantities of the suitable animal as well as plant forms
Dr. Nelson kept under observation a number of oysters in water
shallow enough for a system of wires and levers to be connected
with the shells in such a way that the opening and closing of the
valves were recorded on a revolving smoked drum or chimograph
in the floating laboratory above. It was found that, during the
summer months at least, the oysters remained open, and conse-
quently feeding, for 19 to 20 hours out of 24. Feeding is thus evi-
dently a fairly continuous process during the warmer months.
Organic detritus or debrns resulting from the decay and disintegra-.
tion of plant and animal life undoubtedly contributes to the food
of the oyster. As the diatoms and other plant forms become broken
up some of their fragments are ingested by the oyster, and a certain
amount of nutriment is derived therefrom. After death, animal
forms disintegrate and release fats, albumens, etc., into the water.
It has been found that the fresh-water mussel may make use of
such products, and probably the same is true in the case of the
A natural oyster bed is an area of the bottom on which oysters
have become established without the voluntary and intentional
agency of man. In law, the term is usually held to include only
such bottoms as bear oysters in sufficient quantities to make fishing
for them by legitimate methods a means of reasonable livelihood
or areas which have formerly been such and whose present char-
acter indicates a reasonable likelihood that they may again become
productive. The only difference between natural and artificial
beds lies in the fact that the latter originate by the intentional act
of man, whereas the former arise from natural conditions purely,
from accident, or from unintentional human agency incidental to
other works and purposes. In most cases the natural beds, and
especially the larger ones, have been produced by the operation of
factors in which man has no part, and we know nothing of their
origin. In a few instances, small beds have been caused by ship-
wrecks and other accidents; but on the other hand there are many
beds, some of them very productive, which have grown on ashes
and similar material thrown overboard from vessels and upon shells
culled from the live oysters by oystermen and strewn at random
over the bottom. Whatever their origins, all oyster beds, if left to
a Nelson, T. C. ForthcomlnR report, N. J. Agricultural Collee Experiment Station.
b Moore, 1. F. Proposed revision of "Oysters and Methods of Oyster Culture" (187).


themselves will assume the same general physical and biological
characters in so far as their environments permit.
The natural beds of the Atlantic and Gulf coast practically all lie
like islands in a sea of mud more or less soft. In some places the
oysters are in clusters rooted in the mud, in others the substratum is
hard to a greater or less depth, but examination will show that this
hardness is in most cases superficial, and below it lies mud of a con-
sistency corresponding to that which surrounds the bed. There are
a few beds which have grown on rocky bottom, and there is a larger
number lying on firm, unshifting sand; but there are few rocky out-
crops on the coast south of NewEngland, and most sandy areas tend
to shift more or less and engulf such oysters and shells as may be
lying on them. The oyster is an inhabitant, par excellence, of the
muddy bays, sounds, and lagoons, and in them attains its best
In tracing the history of any oyster bed, reference must be made
to the nature and characteristics of the young oyster as it develops
from the egg. As has been explained on page 13 the embryo oyster
is a minute organism endowed with certain feeble powers of locomo-
tion, which are sufficient for awhile to keep it suspended in the water
and permit its being carried by the currents. In some cases it may
be carried several miles from its parents before the setting stage is
attained. The chances are many that when this happens it will lodge
on mud and end its story, for so small is the larva at this stage that
a mere film of ooze suffices to stifle it. If, however, by rare good
fortune it, at this time or just before, comes into contact with a shell,
pebble, twig, rocky ridge, or other clean body, whether at the bottom
or not, it speedily attaches itself and continues its growth.
So abundant is the supply of larva in any prolfic oyster region
that ordinarily several or many will attach to each square inch of
clean surface, and a shell may furnish attachment for a hundred or
more. Under such circumstances there soon begins a struggle for
existence that is none the less rigorous for being purely passive. As
the young oysters grow there is not room for all, and the more vigor-
ous ones, themselves distorted by the crowding, overgrow, stifle,
starve, and eventually kill those of slower growth or less advanta-
geously situated. At the end of the first year there has developed a
cluster of perhaps from two to a dozen young oysters growing on the
original shell, all projecting upward and crowding one another into
long, narrow shapes. Upon the projecting mouths of these shells
there is another set of spat on the succeeding year, and as this grows
some of the survivors of the earlier generation are in their turn
crowded and killed. The result of this is that in the course of a few
years there is formed a cluster like an inverted pyramid with its apex
being gradually driven into the mud by the increasing weight above,
while its broad base is made up of several generations of living oysters
attached to the dead shells which constitute the middle parts. The
oysters around the edge where they have room to grow are often of
fair shape and quality, while those more centrally located are irreg-
ular, long, narrow, and usually poor, owing to their crowded condition
and difficulty in obtaining food.
From the decay of the inge ligaments of the dead valves, the cor-
roding effect of boring animals, and the solvent action of seawater on
the limy shells, these top-heavy clusters tend to break up under their


own weight and under the force of the waves. On hard bottom the
disintegrated parts are rolled about and more or less evenly distrib-
uted, resulting eventually in the production of other similar clusters
scattered at intervals. On soft mud the shells can not roll so readily,
and they fall and remain close to the base of the original cluster,
where, if not completely engulfed, they form places of attachment for
new generations. If the mud be very soft they sink for a short dis-
tance and accumulate until they harden the bottom and form a firm
support for the shells which fall later, and which in turn are covered
with a growth of young.
As these phenomena recur year after year the original single cluster
gradually extends around its edges now more or less at the top until
it becomes converted into a little bed composed of a dense mass of
clusters, with its boundaries sharply defined and limited by the soft
mud surrounding it. A number of other clusters have probably been
growing simultaneously on the same muddy bottom, and the areas
between becoming narrowed and obliterated, there results a great
flat bed made up of a number of smaller patches separated by a
muddy network. Where a deep, muddy channel occurs the oyster
growth usually stops near the edge of the slope, the shells which would
else serve as clutch sinking down into the deep soft ooze. Opposite
the mouths of smaller streams, even where there is no such deep chan-
nel, the oyster growth is also inhibited, partly by the freshness of the
water, but principally and often entirely by the deposit of silt which
soon spreads its thin coating over everything lying on the bottom.
In some cases the beds may be completely interrupted, but in others
they are continuous in their offshore part, passing by and inclosing
the unfavorable area as an oval or subtriangular barren, muddy patch
surrounded, excepting on its shoreward side, by productive oyster
It is difficult to say what may have been the condition of the nat-
ural beds in Chesapeake Bay before they were disturbed by man, but
at the present time they are essentially in the condition so far de-
scribed, though with their boundaries often ill-defined and the clusters
usually smaller and less dense as a result of tonging and dredging.
They usually exhibit no great depth of shells, though the bottom is
more or less hardened by their accumulation m the underlying mud.
They usually extend alongshore, their greatest length in the direction
of the currents and their width extending from a couple of feet below
low water toward, and often to, the edge of the deep, muddy
In South Carolina and adjacent regions the beds are of essentially
the same type, excepting that they are smaller and narrower and
particularly that they are crowded closer to the shores and almost
entirely confined to the area between high and low water, a situation
impossible in Chesapeake Bay and more northern regions, owing to
the killing cold of winter.
Further development in the history of natural oyster beds beyond
the stage which has been described results in a gradual thickening of
the deposit of shells and the production of a short reef or lump with
a more or less distinct shoaling of water over its top. The living
oysters standing vertically in the dense mass, with their growing tips
directed upward and kept clean by the currents, present the onl
available place for spat fixation. Each year the set occurs on prece-


ing generations, raising the living parts of the bed higher above the
bottom, while the interstices beneath become filled with old shells,
fragments, sand, and mud to form a compact mass. Eventually, in
shallow water, the living oysters approach low-water mark or in some
parts of the coast rise above it, where their progress is arrested by
cold or long periods of exposure to the air.
Each year a set may occur only to be killed in winter, the dead
shells, fragments, sand, and mud piling up under wave action, until
the crest may become raised to a level several feet above high water,
producing a shell island usually surrounded by a more or less dense
growth of live oysters. Such islands are not uncommon in the South
Atlantic and Gulf States, and they frequently accumulate in time a
growth of grass and brush, which more or less obscures their true
character. Sometimes the material is thrown up around their edges
atoll-like, leaving a depression in the middle in which muddy deposits
collect and support a growth of brush. In places where the bottom
is composed of very soft mud the sides of these lumps are compara-
tively steep and soundings will change 1 or 2 feet within a few yards,
the difference being due to the depth of shells and oysters.
In open waters, not especially subject to freshets, where the cur-
rents are moderate and the silt carried not excessive, such lumps
tend to maintain a round or oval outline, with no great difference
between the long and short diameters; but where the currents are
rapid or the bodies of water constricted, there, as soon as they rear
themselves well above the bottom, they show a strong tendency to
grow transversely to the tides, especially if the water be silt-laden.
Such long, narrow reefs are common in the rivers of North Carolina
and in the bays and rivers of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
In James River, Va. and probably in other rivers of the Chesapeake
region, the beds, while often showing their greatest extent in the
direction of the current, usually have their shoalest parts trans-
versely to it or are made up of a series of transverse shoals and ridges
composed of a dense mass of shells and fragments.
The reasons-for this transverse development are as follows: The
upgrowing reefs form partial dams or obstructions to the flow of the
currents, and, in accordance with well-known laws, cause eddies or
backwaters on both the side presented to the current and on that
sheltered from it, in tidal waters the two being periodically reversed
with the reversal of the tide. When the velocity of a silt-laden stream
is checked, it deposits part of its load in the slack water, and, under
the conditions stated above, mud falls on the upper and lower sides
of the reef, while the somewhat accelerated flow around the ends
scours the shells and keeps them clean and fit to receive fresh sets of
young oysters. These factors operate more energetically the more
heavy silt-laden the water, and they would become nonoperative in
perfectly clear water. Not only does heavily silt-laden water deposit
more mud when its velocity is checked, but it scours more energet-
ically when its velocity is accelerated, the particles of sand and other
materials carried in suspension, acting as so many small brushes to
rub off such materials as may have previously lodged. The greater
volume of water passing the ends of the reef has still two other
effects-it brings a large number of swimming larva in contact with
the shells and it carries more food to the oysters living there. Clean
cultch, abundant larvae, and ample food, three principal factors in


heavy production and rapid growth of oysters, are, therefore, found
better fulfilled at the ends of the reef than at the sides lyig across
the currents. This tendency to transverse growth once established
is increased with every increase in the length of the reef, the jetty
effect, retarding the flow of water in one place and accelerating it in
another, becoming more pronounced.
It frequently happens that reefs similar in general character to
those just described begin their development from or close to the
shore, usually at projectmg points. They grow, of course, principally
at their outer ends and extend outward from the shore at r ht angles
to the current, maintaining a nearly uniform width throughout their
1n the foregoing description of natural beds consideration has been
given solely to the oyster itself, but the conditions are always com-
plicated by the presence of other organisms between which and the
oyster there are more or less complex biological relations. Some of
the minute forms, especially the plants, constitute the oyster food,
while many of the larger species either prey actively on the oyster or
its young or compete with it in the struggle for food, oxygen, and
space in which to grow.
Until the last 40 years the majority of the oysters taken from Cape
Cod to Mexico came from natural oyster beds which covered an area
of such great extent that they were regarded as inexhaustible. That
this belief is quite erroneous is shown by the fact that on the northern
parts of the coast, where the temperature is about the minimum for
the support of oysters, the natural beds have disappeared or have
become sadly depleted. Those of Massachusetts are greatly ex-
hausted, and few are found in Narragansett Bay. On the Connecticut
coast only two beds of importance remain-one in the mouth of New
Haven Harbor and one west of Stratford Lighthouse, near Bridgeport.
There are very few in New York waters. Many of the beds of
Chesapeake Bay are seriously or quite depleted, although many still
remain. From that point southward the depletion has not been
nearly so great, as the oyster fishery has not been pursued as vig-
orously and the environment has been such that the oyster repro-
duced much more abundantly than in the north, where a failure to
obtain set is only too common.
In some cases the depletion or destruction of natural beds is the
result of natural causes, such as the cutting off of the inlet to a bay
or sound and the reduction of the salinity of the water; the covering
of the beds with silt, debris, and fresh water during a freshet; the
shifting of sand or mud by storms; or the inroads of living enemies.
The greatest enemy to the oyster, however, is man. Most of the
depleted condition of the natural oyster beds is the result of careless
overfishing by oystermen. The beds are stripped down so completely
that not enough adult oysters are left to furnish sufficient spawn to
insure a subsequent crop. Although millions of eggs and sperma-
tozoa are produced, those products are thrown into the water, where
many of the eggs fail of fertilization; many eggs and larva die or are
eaten by enemies; and many fall at setting time on soft bottoms
and are smothered. The percentage that finally reaches the adult


stage is relatively small. For that reason too complete removal of
the adult oysters from a bed destroys hope for an ensuing generation.
During the past 40 years certain methods of oyster culture have
been developed, especially in certain regions, whereby new beds have
been built up and a constructive system of increasing the oyster
supply has been initiated in addition to the negative one of restric-
tions on fishing, such as close seasons and the like. Biologists have
become concerned in this work, and efforts have been made to pro-
mote, by experimentation, methods for the improvement of oyster

From the table on page 5 it will be seen that about half the
voters produced in the United States are taken from private or
planted beds, the rest coming from natural or uncultivated areas.
It will also be noted that in New England over 90 per cent of the
oysters are produced on planted beds, that in the Middle Atlantic
States the natural beds are considerably in excess, and that in the
South Atlantic and Gulf States the proportion of natural beds is
much higher yet. The table shows, however, that the value of the
oysters from the planted beds is nearly twice that of those from the
natural. This is due largely to the better quality and shape of the
oysters produced by cultivation.
It is intended mainly to set forth here the methods of oyster culture
which so far have proved to be commercially successful on the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts, together with such suggestions concerning
their improvement as biological science has to offer. Since there yet
occasionally arise false hopes that the so-called artificial propaga-
tion, or the hatching and rearing of oysters in tanks or ponds, as is
done in the case of fish, is on the verge of practical accomplishment,
it may be well to dispose of this matter before proceeding to the
treatment of the successful methods mentioned above.

This attempted method of oyster culture can be treated most
simply by stating that its perfection and practical application are
substantially no nearer solution than when the problem was opened
up by Brooks (1880, pp. 10 to 18). He succeeded in artificially
fertilizing the oyster eggs with spermatozoa of the male oyster and
in rearing some free-swimming larvae to the age of four or five days.
Brooks's methods are in themselves not difficult, and the experiment
has been repeated time and again both by biologists and laymen.
Owing, however, to the immense practical difficulties of restraining
the microscopic larvae in receptacles or tanks and at the same time
providing for a change of water and the introduction of the proper
food and removal of waste, no one has succeeded in rearing many
of the larvae until they attach to cultch. It would seem, moreover
impossible to do this on a scale sufficiently large to be of practical
application in the oyster industry.
The same statements are true regarding the adaptation of this
method, in which attempts were made to substitute for the tanks
ponds connected by narrow inlets or ditches with tidewater. While


elaborate designs have been constructed for the manipulation of
such ponds and the catching of set on cultch placed in the ponds
or the connecting ditches, none has proved to be of any practical
value whatever. The principal difficulty seems to have been that,
in the effort to confine the set to the pond, too scanty an inlet was
provided for the entrance and exit of the tide, and the oysters suffered
m consequence. In the cases where efforts were made to catch the
set on cultch placed along the connecting canal, if the latter were
broad enough to allow sufficient rush of water to keep the cultch
clean, most of the set passed out to sea.
Oysters, on the other hand, will reproduce, grow, and fatten in
ponds or inlets to which the tide has access in sufficient volume to
render the water properly saline, provide the requisite food, and
remove the debris. The set from such oysters is at the mercy of
the tide; some may be caught in the pond or inlet, and some will
be carried outside. In France ponds or "claires" are profitably
maintained for the growth and fattening of oysters. The seed
oysters placed therein consist of set from outside oyster beds which
has been caught on collectors placed in the water along the beach.
While it can not be said that the problem of so-called artificial
propagation may not be solved at some future time for the present
it must be emphasized that oyster culturists should base no false
hopes on the practical application of this method.
In view of the barren results of 40 years' experiments in this line,
it is best to devote attention to the amplification and perfection of
methods which have proved to have a certain measure of success
and which are applicable to the industry as carried out on such a
vast scale in the United States.
In order to carry on oyster culture either by catching set or plant-
ing seed oysters, it must first be ascertained whether ground for that
purpose can be leased or otherwise obtained from the State and,
if so leased, whether public sentiment is such that the laws will be
respected and enforced. In some States ample provision is made
for the rental of oyster grounds and the lessee is protected. Oysters
are not taken from his beds any more than corn is taken from a
man's cornfield. In other States conditions have been in the past
such that protection of leased ground, if attempted at all, was an
absolute failure. Considerable improvement is noted, however, in
this respect within recent years.
In selection of ground for locating oyster beds care must be exer-
cised to avoid waters into which trade wastes are discharged in
quantities sufficient to kill either the free-swimming larve or the
oyster after it has set. It has been found that certam trade wastes
from factories are injurious to oysters if present above certain con-
centrations. Further, the Federal and State health laws must be
borne in mind in order to avoid grounds condemned by health
authorities because of pollution by sewage. Stringent laws forbid
the use of such grounds for raising or fattening oysters.


Some States employ competent surveyors, and oyster beds are
laid out with the aid of ranges, such as important natural objects
or special signals set for the purpose. The planters then place stakes
or buoys along these lines in such a way that each man knows exactly
where his boundary line lies. Such practice is to be highly recom-
mended as tending to avoid disputes and litigation.

Owing to the great size of the oyster beds, to the large number of
oysters handled, and to the high price of labor and the relatively
low price of the product, it is not practicable in the United States
to use the intensive methods of oyster culture employed in European
countries, such as France, or in Japan. In those countries, special
devices are used for catching the oyster spat and the individual
oysters are removed by hand from the collectors and placed on
specially prepared bottoms or in ponds for growth and fattening.
In the United States, oyster cultivation, in general, is limited to
operations which can be carried on by mechanical means on a fairly
large scale over areas of considerable size, thousands of bushels of
oysters being involved.
Oyster culture in the United States involves two main methods,
the catching of spat, or "set," on artificially placed cultch and the
planting of "seed" oysters. Where oyster culture is practiced one
or the other or both of these processes is carried on, depending on
the region and the desires of the planter.
As stated previously, for some days after hatching the young or
larval oyster is free-swimming. At the close of that period, it
becomes attached to some fairly smooth, hard surface in the water,
usually rocks, shells, etc., on the bottom. Once fixed, it is there for
life and never wanders but proceeds to develop and grow. Failing
to make such an attachment, it dies. Both while free-swimming and
for a time after fixation the oyster larve are referred to by oystermen
as "set."
Advantage is taken of this habit of the oyster larvse, and artificial
means are employed to increase the area of suitable surface upon
which to "catch a set" of young oysters. Various sorts of material
are put down to provide a suitable surface upon which the set may
become attached. The material used for such a purpose is known as
cultch. The most commonly used cultch is oyster shells, although
the light thin shells of other bivalves, especially the "jingle" shells,
are sometimes employed. Oyster shells, being available in great
quantities from the opened oysters, may be returned easily to the
bottoms, thus providing the cheapest, most abundant, and most
suitable form of cultch for the large beds cultivated by American
oyster planters.
After a set is thus obtained on the shells it may be left there to
mature into oysters of marketable size, or the shells with the attached
set may be taken up and shifted to other beds. This is commonly


done in the fall after setting occurs, but sometimes set is allowed to
grow for a year or two and then treated as "seed," which is discussed
on page 33.
This method of oyster culture is more extensively practiced in
Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, on the southern side of
Long Island, in New Jersey waters, and in Louisiana than elsewhere.
The bottoms are cleaned up by dredging from them the old shells,
debris, etc. This is done in May, after the close of the season. The
shells are put down during the last half of June or the month of July.
In Long Island Sound the old rule was to begin "shelling" the day
after the Fourth of July. In Louisiana the shells are put down in
June, since the oysters spawn earlier there because of the higher
temperature of the water.
For shelling purposes in northern waters, the shells are usually
loaded upon large scows (P1. V, fig. 1) and towed out to the grounds by
steamers or gasoline boats. Then while the scow is towed slowly
back and forth over the beds, the shells are shoveled overboard by
men on the scow (P1. V, fig. 2). If the ground is new and somewhat
soft, sufficient shells are put down to form a firm coating such that
the upper layers remain clean and exposed above the mud. In any
case, enough shells are put down to form a fairly level continuous
layer over the bottom.
In northern waters, examination is made about September 1 to 15
to see whether a set has been obtained. Since many factors-such
as time of spawning, condition of the cultch, temperature of the
water, storms, currents, etc.-enter in to affect the setting, this is the
most critical point in the cultivation of oysters by this method and is
the one at which the most failures occur. If no set of consequence
has fixed on the shells, sometimes they are left until the following
season and "harrowed" just before setting time by dragging over
them an oyster dredge with the bag removed. This stirs them up
and cleans them somewhat, so that often a fairly suitable surface is
provided for the attachment of set. Oftent however, they are
dredged up and heaped upon the ground beside the oyster house.
Here they dry, any oyster enemies upon them dying in the meantime,
and may be used over again next season. In case a set (by which the
oysterman means a sufficient quantity to be of commercial import-
ance) is found upon the shells, they are either left, in order that
oysters may develop on that bed, or are shifted to other beds.
The shifting is accomplished by dredging up the shells, set and all,
with ordinary oyster dredges or, rarely, by lifting them with tongs.
Sometimes the oysters are moved after attaining the age of one or
two years, since growth and fattening proceed more rapidly on some
beds than on others, due to differences in food content of the water,
etc. In certain places oysters become green, and their sale is hin-
dered by the unsightly appearance. When ifted to certain other
beds, this color is thrown off in the course of a few months and the
oysters are marketed.
The planting of cultch to catch set is mainly performed on "bar-
ren" ground, that is, bottoms practically free from oysters. Such
ground is leased from the State or purchased outright by the planters.
Some States make ample provisions for such procedure, and the
lessee or owner has complete protection for his oysters. In other
States public sentiment has not supported efforts to provide for leas-


Natural size. (After Moore.)

U. S. B. F. -Dr'. 890.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


The large scow loads of shells are towed by a gasoline boat or steamer.



ing of ground for this purpose and dependence is placed largely on
natural beds for the supply of oysters.
In some few cases a State plants a limited amount of cultch upon
certain partially depleted natural beds for public benefit. In gen-
eral however, the natural beds are staked off and reserved for general
public use by the "natural growther" subject to certain restrictions,
mentioned elsewhere.
The principal considerations involved in this method of oyster cul-
ture are character of the cultch, character and preparation of the
bottom, time for planting cultch, the proper location of cultch beds
with respect to tides and currents and the spawning oysters, and the
location of beds of spawning oysters.
Oultch.-While formerly limited use was made in the United States
of various forms of cultch--such as tin cans, bits of pottery, brush,
pebbles, "jingle" shells, and oyster shells-only the last three mate-
rials have proved to be of practical value, and at the present time the
cultch used consists almost entirely of oyster shells. A few "jingle"
shells are known to be em ploed at one point in Long Island Sound.
Oyster shells are large an afford surface for the attachment of quan-
tities of spat (P1. IV). As this grows, overcrowding is apt to result,
since the shells are too heavy to be broken apart by the pressure of
the developing set. This is overcome by breaking apart and culling
the clusters thus formed.
The advantages of oyster shells as cultch consist largely in their
general adaptability, presenting a smooth surface for the attachment
of the set, and their abundance and convenience, since an oyster-
shucking house has only to turn about and convert its shell pile into
spat collectors by the use of its own boats. At the same time the
gradual disintegration of the shells provides lime for the succeeding
"Jingle" shells, or silver shells, belonging to the species of Anomia,
and scallop shells are thinner and more fragile than oyster shells.
Consequently, they make a superior form of cultch, since the pressure
of the growing young oysters breaks them apart and the formation of
clusters is prevented. Unfortunately, the supply of such shells is so
limited that very few are now used.
Character and preparation of bottom.-If the bottom at the point
where it is desired to plant cultch is sufficiently hard to support it a
layer of shells is spread upon it broadcast, as previously described.
In case the bottom is soft, it may be prepared by putting down sand
or gravel in sufficient quantities to support the shells. Often, how-
ever, the bottom is stiffened merely by the use of shells. Sufficient
quantities are put down and allowed to sink, until a substratum is
formed firm enough to support a layer of cultch several inches or a
foot thick above the ground. A bed on which cultch has been placed
for several years in succession will gradually be made firmer by the
setting of a part of the shells.
Time for planting cultch.--Since sea water always contains more or
less suspended debris, which gradually settles upon the bottom or any
object thereon it follows that cultch will more or less rapidly become
coated with a layer of slime or debris. If this becomes too thick the
oyster larvae are prevented from setting upon it. Movement of the
water by tides and currents obviates this difficulty somewhat by
washing the debris from the cultch. In bodies of water where there


is little movement, especially in inclosed bays or the like, the deposit
accumulates upon the shells rapidly. Such waters, while often very
desirable for growing or fattening oysters, are for this reason poorly
adapted to catching set.
It early became apparent, then, that it would not suffice merely to
spread the cultch at any season of the year most convenient to the
planter. Cultch should be put down just as shortly before the bulk
of the frewimmin larve reaches setting time as it is possible to
do it. In general this has been ascertained by experience in the
various regions where this method is practiced. For example, in
Great South Bay it is planned to complete "shelling" by July 1. In
Long Island Sound shelling often begins immediately after the
Fourth of July and is completed early in August, individual planters
having different ideas as to the best time for planting cultch. In
Louisiana cultch is put down in June.
In the case of the large oyster firms, owing to the great quantity of
shells handled, it is impossible to concentrate all the shelling into a
few days preceding setting time. Such firms often require a month
or six weeks in which to complete the process. The best that can be
done is to make this period coincide with the weeks immediately pre-
ceding setting time.
The proper time of year for planting the cultch has been fixed ap-
proximately at certain seasons for each locality, largely by experience
derived from the results of some years' practice in this method. The
appearance of the adult spawning oysters is noted at intervals each
year and the time of planting varied a few days or weeks one way or
the other. The aim has mainly been to have the cultch down before
any appreciable quantity of spawn has been thrown out by the oysters.
It has been thought until relatively recently that the oyster larve
set within 3 or 4 days after the spawn was thrown out. It is now
known that from 14 to 18 days elapse in New Jersey waters and
northward, and a somewhat shorter period in the warmer waters of
the Southern States. With this longer period in mind, it will be seen
that the time of setting is at least two weeks subsequent to the throw-
ing out of the spawn. In case the spawning period is extended over
several weeks, the problem is complicated. In the more northern
waters, especially in Long Island Sound, the spawning period has
been found to be short, hardly more than two weeks in length, the
bulk of the spawn being thrown out in the course of a few days. In
such case, keeping in mmd the two weeks free-swimming period of the
larva, it is possible to judge the time of putting down cultch quite
Since seasonal variations affect the time of spawning, it follows
that no exact date which will hold good for each year can be set
for planting cultch. As a result of a survey of the free-swimming
larve made by the Bureau of Fisheries, it was found that the setting
time of the bulk of the larve in Long Island Sound in 1918 occurred
during the week of August 10 to 17. In 1919 there was no setting
time m Long Island Sound, since no larva developed to setting size,
owing, doubtless, to the abnormally low temperature of the water.
In 1919, in Great South Bay, setting began about July 1, but the
bulk occurred July 15 to 17. These data were secured by following
the development and movements of the free-swimming larve by


means of examinations of samples of water of definite volume taken
in various places from day to day.
This method consisted essentially in noting the number and size
of free-swimming larve found in samples of water taken daily over
the oyster beds by pumping 50 gallons through a net or bag of
No. 20 bolting silk. By the study of a considerable number of
samples taken each day the general abundance and size of the
larva could be ascertained and the setting time predicted several
days ahead. As the larva approach setting time, with the accom-
panying increase in size, the left valve of the shell becomes very
prominent, as stated on page 13. This renders them readily dis-
tinguishable from other bivalve larva, and it is easy, after a little
practice, to recognize them under the microscope.
It would seem that the advent and development of the larva
could be noted by this means each season. The State commissions
could hire a biologist for a month to make the examinations or
train one of their own members to do the work. The development
and movement of the larva could be followed in a few representative
places in the waters of the State and exact information relative to
setting time ascertained and imparted to the oyster planters. After
a few years it would be found that the time varied within certain
fixed limits, and examinations would need to be made only to learn
the variation within that period for the particular year.
Location of cultch beds.-The different oyster planters have deter-
mined by experience the locations at which beds of cultch are placed.
After a term of years each man has found the portion of his ground
on which cultch may be placed with what seems the most likelihood
of getting a set. Individual planters have their own views as to
the proper position of the cultch in relation to the beds of spawning
oysters. Sometimes beds of cultch and of oysters are placed side
b side; sometimes several are located alternately. Some planters
place a certain number of spawning or "mother oysters" about in
groups on the cultch bed.
Since the free-swimming larva are carried about by the tides and
currents, it becomes of importance to follow in each locality the
movements of the larva in order to ascertain as nearly as possible
the place in which they will set. This involves a study of the tides
and currents and the directions in.which and the distance to which
they carry the larve in any particular bay, cove, or river mouth.
Accurate knowledge of these facts would enable one to state where
the cultch should be placed in relation to the spawning oysters.
Since the tides and currents depend on the contour of the bottoms
and coasts, they are the same from year to year, unless disturbed
by storm. The data, once accumulated by perhaps two or three
years' study, would have permanent value.
Investigations calculated to ascertain the advantages of such
knowledge of the movements and points of aggregation of the free-
swimming larve were carried on in 1919 by the Umted States Bureau
of Fisheries, using Great South Bay, Long Island, as a testing
a Churchill, E. P. Jr., and Outsell, J. S. Reports an Investigation of Oyster Larvein Long Island
found, 1918 and 191, ad Investigation of Oyster Larva of Great South Bay. (Contains methods.)
Forthomn reports, U. 8. Bureau of Fisheries.
b Dr. T. C. Nelson (1916), in his study of the occurrence of free-swimming oysterlarvs in Little Egg
harbor. ., w able to ascertain the relative abundance of the larv in different areas and to predict
the settn date about 10 days in advance.


ground." The method of examining samples of water for numbers
of larvae described on page 31 was employed. It was found to be
possible to ascertain from day to day during the spawning season,
lasting, roughly, from June 5 to July 17, the number of larve per
gallon of water at various representative stations in the bay. In
this way the points of aggregation of the greatest numbers of larvae
were determined and charted on the map. Beds of shells had been
placed at various points in the bay. The quantity of set caught on
the different beds substantiated predictions based on the data
derived from the study. The heaviest set was obtained from the
beds located at the points in the bay where there had been the
greatest accumulation of larvae. To be specific, it was found that
the tide caused the larva to accumulate along the channel from
about Ocean Beach on Fire Island Beach to the inner United States
channel buoy, in the direction of Sayville, Long Island. Cultch beds
should be placed along this channel where the bottom is or may be
made suitable.
By the use of methods such as just described the distribution of
oyster larve could be worked out for any particular region. The
possibilities of this procedure have been discussed above m connec-
tion with the recommendation that such lines of investigation beunder-
taken for the various oyster waters, perhaps by State authorities.
Location ofspawming beds. -Oftentimes the catching of set depends
as much on the location of the spawning oysters as on the position
of the cultch. Both are important, and sometimes the best results
can be accomplished only by the providing of the proper relationship
between the two. Spawning beds should be placed where conditions
are most favorable for spawning, at the same time putting the cultch
at a point where the larvae from the bed will be carried back and forth
across it by the tides or be accumulated over it by eddies or cross
For example, in Great South Bay, Long Island, which is large and
shallow the oysters are placed about over the bay at various points
where they grow and fatten best, the catching of set from them being
a matter of rather secondary importance m this locality. As a
matter of fact one place is as favorable as another for the spawning
of the oysters, the bay being of fairly uniform depth and salinity.
As stated above the larvae accumulate in the channel, and cultch
should be placed there.
In Long Island Sound a different condition prevails. The catching
of set has been a large feature of the oyster industry there. Cultch
beds were planted at greater or lesser distances offshore or in the
lower part of the mouths of rivers. Owing to a recent failure of the
set there, investigations have been made by the United States
Bureau of Fisheries during 1917, 1918, and 1919. It has been found
that in the past the bulk of the set consisted of larvae from natural
oyster beds m the shallow waters of bays, coves, and river mouths
where the water became warm relatively early in the season and
the spawning occurred early enough for the larvae, carried out by
the currents to shell beds in deeper waters, to develop, set, and
acquire a fair size before the close of the short summer season
SChurchill E. P. Jr., and Gutsell, J. S. Investigation of Oyster Larvae in Great South Bay. Forth-
coming repr U. S. Bureau of Fisheries.


of that locality. These inshore beds are practically exhausted now,
and dependence is beingplaced for set upon the oysters planted in
deeper water offshore. The deeper water warms up slowly, and the
oysters spawn so late that the crest of the warm season is over
before setting occurs and very little set is obtained from them. In
Long Island Sound spawning beds should be placed in the shallow
inshore waters to take the place of the original natural beds. Cultch
beds should be placed where they have been heretofore, outside or
in the lower part of the mouths of rivers outside or alongside the
oyster beds.
In this connection, as stated earlier, the fact that certain waters
are contaminated with factory trade wastes must be borne in mind.
It has been found that the upper waters of certain harbors in Long
Island Sound contain such a concentration of trade wastes that
oyster larvte are at once killed by it. No adult oysters are now
found in such waters. As these wastes are carried out nearer to
the mouths of the harbors they are diluted and are at least not so
immediately fatal to the oysters, but ultimately the effect is cer-
tainly harmful. Some of the wastes also probably contribute to
the green discoloration of the meats of oysters found in certain beds.
Vigorous efforts should be made to require the reclamation of trade
wastes by the factories and to prevent their discharge into waters
otherwise fitted for the maintenance of sea-foods.
Geneml desirability of pZanting cultch.-The method of oyster
culture by means of catching set on planted cultch is the most
promising one at present. Small seed oysters may be placed on
bottoms where, due to improved conditions, they will grow faster,
acquire a more desirable shape, and thus bring a better price. But
by putting down cultch in places where there was none before set
may be caught which otherwise would have perished. By this
method the actual number of oysters in increased. This method
should be developed further in some such manner as suggested above
and brought into more general use.
At several points on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts no cultch is
planted, the shells being burned for lime or used in building roads.
In some of these places the oyster beds are becoming seriously
depleted. This is especially true of Chesapeake Bay. Investiga-
tions carried on there by the United States Bureau of Fisheries
during 1919 showed that, while there were abundant free-swimming
larvme during the spawning season, the vast majority of these perished
from lack of cultch upon which to attach themselves. It would
seem highly desirable to cease disposing of the shells for lime or road
building and to clean up the oyster bottoms and plant the shells on
them to catch set. The general improvement of the oyster beds and
the consequent increase i revenue from them would far outweigh
the relatively small amount now received for the shells as at present
In the method of oyster culture by planting seed the start is made
with small or "seed" oysters instead of shells. Such seed oysters
may vary in size from set of a few months' growth, about the size
of gene's finger nail, to oysters of nearly marketable size in some cases.
1816980--20 -


They are usually, however, small oysters attached to old shells or
other material upon which they originally caught. Sometimes, if
fairly large, the individual oysters are removed from the old shells
or the clusters broken up before planting. Seed may be bought or
taken by the planter from his own or natural beds.
Very little seed is now taken from Chesapeake Bay and planted in
Long Island Sound, although the importation of "southern" oysters
and seed was formerly an extensive practice. The oyster beds of
Maurice Cove in Delaware Bay are kept up by the planting of seed
taken from the natural beds m the bay. Seed oysters are planted
in Chesapeake Bay to some extent and in York River, Va. To a
lesser extent the planting of seed oysters is carried on in other States.
In many of the Southern States the clusters of small "coon" oysters
are broken apart and used for seed. Such coon oysters grow in
abundance along the shores and naturally are so thickly crowded
together that they acquire a long, narrow shape and are quite
indifferent oysters. If the clusters are broken apart and the oysters
put down on suitable beds when an inch or two long, they grow into
fair-shaped, marketable oysters in about a year in southern waters.
Seed oysters are planted at various times of the year, depending on
the local conditions, in some places in the fall, in others in the spring.
A number of oystermen make a business of taking shells bearing
set from natural beds and selling it to the large planters to be placed
on their leased beds as seed. No shells are planted upon natural
beds except by the State in certain cases, the set attaching to shells
left by the death of adult oysters, or to rocks, debris, etc. The
material bearing the set is taken from such natural beds by the use
of tongs (P. XI) or by light dredges lifted by hand or hand wind-
lasses on a sailboat (Pl. XV, fg. 1).
In nearly all States it is illegal to use other than a sailing vessel
on natural beds and in most instances the dredge must be lifted by
hand or by a hand windlass, although sometimes it is lawful to
lift the dredge with a donkey engine on deck of a sailing boat. The
purpose of restrictions on the use of steam and power in dredging
is to limit dredging on natural beds to the use of the less efficient
apparatus in order to conserve the supply of oysters. In most
States such "natural growth" may not be taken from the beds
during certain of the summer months, the purpose being not to
disturb the beds during spawning and setting time.
In northern waters it requires from four to five years for an oyster
to reach marketable size (a length of from 4 to 5 inches, measured
in the shell). In Chesapeake Bay three years is sufficient, while
in the South marketable size may be attained in two years. Oysters
grow more rapidly in the warmer waters.
In oyster culture by the method of planting seed the main con-
siderations are the kind of seed, character of the water, food supply,
bottom, sowing the seed, and caring for the beds.
Seed.-Seed oysters vary in size from the set just caught that
season and taken up in the fall, when it is about the size of a finger
nail, to oysters which will attain marketable size within a few months
after planting. The majority of the seed, however, is not more than
1I inches long. It is obtained from" natural growthers" who make
a business, as stated above, of taking seed oysters from natural
beds and selling them to planters, or by the planter himself gather-


ing them directly from the beds. In many places the larger planters
buy of the "natural growthers", since steam vessels and heavy
dredges, such as are owned by the large oyster companies, are not
allowed to work on the natural beds. The "natural growther,"
with less capital, can afford to maintain a vessel and some hand
dredges and profitably sell to the large oyster company, which in
turn obtains seed more cheaply than it could by supporting its own
sailing vessels and crews. In States where such a system is prac-
ticed, the natural beds are set aside by the State for the "natural
growther" with limited capital.
The material dredged from the natural beds usually contains old
shells, rocks, and debris, in addition to the oysters. Sometimes the
whole is bought at a reduced price, but usually the desirable material
is culled out and the clustered oysters broken apart as far as possible.
Water.-As a general rule seed oysters should not be obtained
from warm waters and put down in those excessively colder. If
this be done, it will usually be found that their growth is checked
for some time and that a certain percentage die. After a time,
however, they become accustomed to the reduced temperature and
renew their growth.
In general, the warmer the water the more rapid the growth of
the oysters. This is due both to the greater abundance of food
material and to the fact that the bodily activities of the oyster
proceed more rapidly when the organism is warmed to a relatively
hgh temperature.
e density of the water should be between 1.007 and 1.023.
Although oysters are found both in water of lesser and of greater
densities, they do best within the limits stated.
Food.-The character of the food of the oyster is discussed on
page 19. In order to profit by planting oysters, a sufficient quantity
of food for them must be assured. Often certain waters and bottoms
are suitable for catching set on cultch, but do not possess a suffi-
cient food supply to enable the oysters to grow and fatten rapidly.
Other grounds furnish an abundant food supply, but the water is so
loaded with debris that cultch and set are soon covered. Hence in
many cases cultch beds are placed in waters of the former character,
and the set is caught and later transferred to waters containing more
Care must be exercised not to place more oysters on the ground
than can be supported by the supply of food present. On the
average about 500 bushels of seed are sowed per acre. The food
content of the water varies greatly from place to place and from
time to time in the same place. It is affected to some extent by
the amount of material brought from the land by the streams and
rivers. This again is dependent on the rainfall. As previously
stated, diatoms make up a considerable part of the oyster's food
and diatom growth is affected by materials washed down from the
land. A period of excessive drought causes a falling off in the
diatom content of the water.
It would be well if a systematic biological study could be made
of the food content of the water over prospective oyster grounds.
In order to do this samples of water of definite amounts should be
strained through No. 20 silk bolting cloth and the number and


amount of food organisms and material ascertained microscopically. a
Estimate is usually made per liter, which is about equal to a quart.
If it were found from a series of examinations that the food content
of the water were conspicuously low, it is obvious that the grounds
in question would not be desirable for the planting of oysters.
Bottom.-The bottom is cleaned of debris by dredging. If firm
enough to support the oysters, no further preparation is needed. If
soft, the surface is hardened by putting down shells, sand, or gravel,
deposited uniformly so that there are no holes in the surface as finally
Sowing the seed.-The seed oysters are removed from the original
bed by the use of tongs or dredges and are planted in much the same
manner as shells by being shoveled from boats or scows (P1. V, fig. 2)
towed back and forth over the grounds. About 500 bushels per acre
are usually planted, though the amounts vary widely with local con-
ditions. The oysters are spread uniformly, so that they may not lie
in heaps and cause some to fail to receive the proper amount of food
or to be crowded and thus grow irregularly.
Care of beds.-The beds are generally left untouched after planting,
except for combating enemies in some cases (see below) and shifting
certain of the oysters, if desired, to other grounds for final prepara-
tion for market. The oysters to be shifted or sold directly are taken
up by the use of tongs and dredges. After the oysters have been
removed from the beds the grounds are cleaned up by dredging,
when they may be used again for planting cultch or seed.
The more important enemies of the oyster will be described briefly
and the methods, if any, of combating each set forth.
There are two species of starfish which may be classed as oyster
enemies. These are the common star, Asterias forbesi, and the
purple star, Asterias vulgaris. The starfish opens an oyster by inclos-
ing it with the arms or rays (P1. VI, fig. 1), which are provided with
rows of suckerlike feet on the lower side, and exerting a constant
outward pull on the valves of the shell, until the oyster is exhausted
and the valves are allowed to gape at the ends. The starfish then
protrudes its stomach from the mouth, which is on the lower side of
the central disk, inserts it between the valves of the oyster shell, and
sucks in and digests the meat. The set and 1 and 2 year old oysters
are more subject to the inroads of the starfish, because of their
smaller size and weaker adductor muscle; but the larger starfish
prey on oysters as much as 3 years old.
In certain waters the starfish are very destructive to oysters, often
invading and cleaning out a whole bed before the planter is aware
of their presence. This is true of New England waters and those
immediately to the southward. They are unknown in Chesapeake
Bay and constitute a menace to oysters only in the regions mentioned
in the preceding sentence. In Narragansett Bay and Long Island
Sound it has been necessary to fight them very vigorously.
a This method will suffice to determine the great bulk of the food available in the water and is usuall
sufficent practical purposes. The terin actualsolutlon in the water, which probably contributes
only a small perentage of the food of the oyster, can be determined only by chemical analysis.


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

(Photo from Dr. H. M. Smith.)

The worm has fastened itself upon the oyster and appears as a dark wrinkled body in about
the center of the oyster meat. Natural size. (After Danglade.)

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

The stars become entangled in the brushes as they are dragged over the bottom. The mops
are then raised and plunged into vats of hot water on deck to kill the starfish.




The only practical method of destroying the starfish so far devised
is by the use of the "star mop" (P1. VII, fig. 1). This usually
consists of an iron bar about 10 feet long, to which are attached 8 or
10 large mops or brushes of heavy rope-yarn about 4 feet long. The
bar moves on small wooden iron-tired wheels as it is dragged over the
bottom by a chain attached by three drag bars arranged as shown
in the figure. The chain passes through a pulley attached to a stout
post andships, and the mop is raised and lowered in the same way
as a dredge. The starfish cling to or become entangled in the mops
and are brought to the surface when the apparatus is lifted. Two
mops are usually used one on each side of the boat. A long narrow
vat is generally placed inside the gunwale on each side of the boat.
These vats are kept filled with water which is heated by steam from
the boiler circulated through pipes in the vats. Each mop with its
burden of "stars" is dropped into the hot water. This is the most
rapid and efficient method of killing the starfish and removing them
from the mops. Sometimes only one vat is used, placed across the
deck before the cabin, and each mop is swung
In Plate VII, figure 2, is shown a special form
of star mop, the "dishpan," devised for use on a
rocky bottom. The toboggan-shaped body con-
sists of two pieces of boiler iron, the larger one 41
by 2 feet and attached to the triangular smaller
one by four rings bolted on as seen m the figure.
This allows some independence of movement of
the two parts. The mops are the same as used 1ro. a-73 pr.- tz dr,
with the other form of apparatus. This mop tu s. 1 dof A..
ri- coot. Naturalsise.
slides over the rocks more readily than the (Afteroore.)
wheeled bar, the brushes falling down between
the rocks and catching the stars. This style of mop, however, is
heavy and awkward tohandle and is not extensively used.
"Starring" must be kept up whenever any considerable number of
the enemy appears and should be of a cooperative nature. It is of
little avail for a planter to attempt to keep his beds free from starfish,
unless his neighbor does likewise.
There are at least four species of snail-like molluscs known to
oystermen as drills or screw borers. One of these, Urosalpinz
cenereus (text fig. 3), attaining a length of about an inch, is found
abundantly from Massachusetts to the east coast of Florida. The
eggs are laid in small, yellowish, vase-haped, leathery capsules a
deposited in clusters on objects m the water. Another species is
Thais larlus, about the size of the preceding. It is found from the
east end of Long Island northward. Other species of drills (often
called borers, snails, whelks, or conchs) are Thais hmastoma (Pl.
VIII, top) and Thais hu mastoma foridana. These sometimes reach
a length of 3 inches. They are found on the Gulf coast, where
they are often very destructive to oyster beds. The eggs are laid
in tubular capsules about a half inch long, attached by the ends to
a Moore, H.F. Proposed revising of "Oysters and Methods of Oyster Culture" (1897)


shells and other objects in the water (PL VIII, center). Masses of
these capsules are often found covering oyster shells so thickly that
there is danger of smothering the oysters. From their reddish-
purple color these masses are often referred to as "red grass."
The various species of drill possess a rasplike apparatus which
can be protruded from the mouth. With this they bore a hole
through the shell of the oyster (P1. VIII, bottom) and suck out the
contents. Drills destroy many young oysters, their thin shells
being relatively easily penetrated. After the oyster becomes older
its shell is heavy enough to resist the effort of the drill.
In Long Island Sound it has been found that about the most
practical method of lessening the numbers of this enemy is the
following: The teeth are removed from an ordinary oyster dredge
and a bag with meshes of an inch or less is put on in place o
the usual coarser one. After the oysters have been taken off
the bed for market or shifting, the specially equipped dredge is
used and everything lef-shells, drills, debris, etc.-is dredged up

PIe. 4.-Popale amron, or drum fsh. At time thbs sh destroys large numbers of oystrs. (After
Jordan and Evernu.)
and dumped ashore to dry. The drills die, and a good deal of the
material may then be used as cultch.
The fish known as the "black drum," Pogoniae cromis (text fig. 4)
is found at intervals of time and place from New Jersey to Texas and
is often very destructive to oyster beds. It attains a length of
several feet and has a heavy body with large stout teeth. The
oysters are crushed, shell and all, by these strong teeth, the younger
thin-shelled ones being, of course, especially subject to the depre-
dations of the drumfish. These fish go in schools and their attacks
are spasmodic, often whole oyster beds being cleaned out in a short
time and then, again, no drumfish being seen for several months
Efforts have been made to kill or frighten away such fish by the
explosion of dynamite, but no particular success has been achieved.
In southern waters, especially in Louisiana, where oyster beds lie
in shallow water and there is not much tide, it has been found practi-

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

Natural size. (After Moore and Pope.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890. PLATE IX.



U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


cable to fence the beds with chicken wire strung on posts set in the
This is also a snail-like mollusc, comprising several species, some
of which attain a length of from 5 to 6 inches. Bujycon carica and
Bucon canaiculatum (P1. IX) are the most common. The eggs
are deposited in flat parchmentlike capsules about an inch in diameter
and strung together by a cord along the side to form a loosely spiral
chain a foot to a foot and a half in length. This is cast free from
the animal and left to the mercy of the waves. It has been found*
that the conch opens an oyster by insert-
ig the edges of its own shell between
the valves of the oyster when it gapes
(text fig. 5) and then introducing its
proboscis and eating the meat. Conchs \ \
do not occur, however, in sufficient quan-
tities to destroy many oysters. No defi-
nite means of combating them are
employed, although those taken when
dredging are usually killed.
Mussels, the common edible species,
Mytilus edulis, and other species, of the '- \
Atlantic waters, and Mytilu hamatus
(P1. X, fig. 1), of the Gulf coast, are bi-
valves which, shortly after hatching from
the egg, attach themselves to material
on the bottom by a slender thread or
hair called the byssus. As development
goes on the number of hairs is multi-
plied and they become shorter and
stouter until the adult mussel, at a F--CanP ( Wt
length of 2 to 4 inches, is very firmly
attached by these threads. The mussels multiply rapidly, and
dense beds are sometimes formed over the oysters, tending to smother
the latter. Since the mussels feed upon essentially the same materials
as do the oysters, there is always danger of a greater or less exhaus-
tion of the food supply.
In Long Island Sound the mussel is attacked in the following
manner: The mussel spawns and "sets"-that is, attaches by the
byssus-perhaps a month or more before the oyster. Advantage
is taken of this fact, and when evidences are found of an alarminf
number of young mussels on the oyster beds, they are "harrowed
by dragging over them an ordinary dredge with the bag removed
or open at the back. This process crushes and destroys the majority
of the tiny mussels without injury to the adult oysters. If this
process is carried out on a bed planted with shells to catch a set,
no harm is done, as the oysters have not yet spawned, and there is
consequently no oyster set on the shells.
Cottn,W H. How rFuaur and Bcotusat Oste Meba.anyChitn Prooeedig,Aeadnmy
SNatural Scenoes, Philadelphia, Vol. LX10S, pp.S-10. dpls. Philadelphia.


Boring sponge (Cliona cedaa) is the term applied to a yellow
sponge ch begins its existence by boring (PI. XXI, lower left
figure) in the shell of the oyster, where it forms small tunnels, in
which it lives. The shell is gradually honeycombed, and the oyster
becomes weak and thin from the effort to seal up the openings where
the tunnels penetrate the shell completely. The sponge also spreads
over the outside of the shell and often smothers the oyster by its
very size. No means of protection against the sponge can be sug-
gested, but fortunately it does not occur in sufficient numbers m
most regions to prove a serious menace.
The boring clam (Maresia cuneiformis, M. smithii, and M. cor-
ticaria) is a species of clam which enters the shell of the oyster
by boring a small round hole and excavating in the substance of
the shell, at the inner end of the hole, a hemispherical cavity
(Pl. X, fig. 2) in which it then spends its life, often attaining a length
of three-eighths of an inch. The clam usually does not penetrate
the shell entirely and does not feed upon the oyster. It attains its
food through the external opening. It does comparatively little
damage to the oyster.
This is a turbellarian worm (P1. VI, fig. 2) of undetermined species
which on several occasions has destroyed large numbers of oysters in
the vicinity of Cedar Keys, Port Inglis, and Tampa, Fla. This worm
is nearly flat, more or less circular in outline, and is about three-
fourths of an inch long. It finds its way between the valves of the
oyster and feeds upon the meat, eventually killing the oyster. It
flourishes in water of fairly high salinity, and its ravages are checked
by lowered temperatures. No method of combating it can be
suggested other than a careful worlkng of the beds and the use of
new air-dried cultch and fresh seed stock.
Oysters are commonly taken by the use of hand tongs, patent
tongs, dredges lifted by hand or hand windlasses, or dredges raised
by engines or hoisters turned by the engine of the boat. These forms
of apparatus and the boats on which they are used are described
Ordinary hand oyster tongs are shown in Plate XI, figures 1 and 2.
There are two long, flat, smooth, wooden handles about 3 inches wide
and nearly 1 inch thick, bolted, riveted, or pinned together with a
wooden pin, scissors fashion, about 4n feet from one end (see figures),
leaving the long ends for handles. To the short end of each shaft is
secured at right angles a light iron bar, about 3j feet long, bearing
teeth, while above this bar are five or six still lighter bars or heavy
wires parallel to the bar and attached to the shaft. The ends of the
bars or wires are fastened together by short wires. The arrange-

U. S. B. F.- Doc. 890.

(After Moore.)

(After Moore.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)


U.S B .Do.80.PE-II




vIrrw w

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.



ment on each shaft is made with the teeth sloping inward, and when
the handles are closed the two are brought together, the whole forming
a basketlike affair, 3J feet long by about 8 or 10 inches deep. In
operation (PI. XI, fig. 1), the handles are worked scissors fashion,
and the teeth forced under the oysters retained in the basket, which
is then lifted (Pl. XI, fig. 2). Oyster tongs vary in length with the
depth of water in different localities. In some places, as in the
Rappahannock River, oysters are tonged with such apparatus from
a depth of at least 20 feet.
Patent tongs are used quite extensively in Virginia and but very
little elsewhere. From Plate XII, figure, it wil be seen that their
general construction is similar to that of hand tongs, except that the
handles are of iron, about 6 feet long and provided with an eye at the
end for the attachment of ropes for lowering and raising the tongs.
The basket of the tongs is of considerably heavier material than in
case of the hand tongs. Patent tongs are employed in water too
deep to admit of the use of ordinary tongs and are raised and lowered
by a spool or windlass, as in Plate XII, figure 1. While being lowered
the tongs are locked open by the short hook seen on one of the handles
just above the center pin. When they strike bottom, the consequent
release of the weight of the baskets on the handles allows the hook
to become disengaged. The tongs are then "jigged" by jerking
upon the rope several times causmg the teeth to sink more deeply,
and then lifted by the windlass.
In very shallow water of perhaps 2 to 4 feet in depth small tongs are
often used. These consist of two wooden handles about 7 feet long,
arranged as in the case of the ordinary tongs, but with only a single
bar on each about 10 inches long, each bar being provided with teeth.
This instrument is much lighter and more convenient to use in shallow
water than ordinary tongs, especially where only a few barrels of
oysters are desired. Such tongs are sometimes called "nippers."
In other regions the term "nipper" is applied to a device of a similar
nature, except that, instead of ending in a toothed bar, each handle
terminates in a narrow blunt blade, thus forming true pincers or
nippers, with which single oysters can be taken or dislodged from
rocks or pilings.
In Plate XIII, figures 1 and 2, and Plate XIV, figure 1, are shown
various styles of tonging boats. Plate XIII, figure 1, shows a small boat
used on Long Island Sound; and Plate XIII, figure 2, a small tonging
boat at Bayou Labatre, Ala. Plate XIV, figure 1, shows the type of
tonging boat used at Apalachicola, Fla. These boats often carry
an autilary gasoline engine besides the sails. Such a boat with
engine is seen in the figure, returning with a load of oysters which
have been obtained by tonging. Boats of this sort often have a shal-
low hold into which oysters are piled until full, after which they are
heaped on deck. Plate XII, figure 1, shows a boat equipped'with
patent tongs.


On the small boats, in compliance with State law, the oysters are
culled on a board placed across the boat, as in Plate XI.
The hand dredge is shown in Plate XV, figure 1. It consists
essentially of two triangles made of three-fourths inch iron bar,
joined at the apices, and the bases separated about 18 inches by
curved bars, as seen m the figure at left. It usually measures 4 or 5
feet in width. The base of the lower triangle consists of a bar about
1 inches thick, to which are welded teeth about incheslong, set about
3 inches apart. To a ring at the apex of the dredge a rope or wire
cable is attached, by which the dredge is lowered and raised, either
by hand or by the hand windlass. Plate XVI, figure 1, shows a small
dredging sloop or "skipjack" under sail on Chesapeake Bay, the
dredge on the port side being lifted and the hand windlass visible
beyond it. In some States, as Maryland, somewhat heavier dredges
than this are operated by the use of a donkey engine placed on the
deck of a ailing vessel (PI. XVI1, fig. 2). Plate XVI, figure 2,
shows such a dredging schooner at work. These vessels are pro-
pelled entirely by sai~, it being illegal to dredge with other than
sails as motive power; the engine merely operates the dredge.
From one to three dredges are usually operated from each side of
the boat, each dredge being raised and emptied in turn. Plate XVII,
figure 1, shows the dredge being thrown overboard and the roller over
which the chain moves in lowering and raising it. After the full
dredge is lifted it is allowed to rest on the roller and is emptied by
pulling the bag forward (PI. XVII, fig. 2) thus turning it wrong side
out and dumping the oysters on deck. The dredge is then dropped
overboard agam. The oysters are culled on deck and then shoveled
into the hold or onto the pile on deck.
A yet heavier and stouter form of dredge (PI. XV, fig. 2) is used
where dredging with power boats is allowed. It will be seen to
resemble the other patterns, except that it is largely made of heavy,
flat, iron bars, about 2 inches wide and nearly 1 inch thick and firmly
braced. The lower part of the bag is of iron mesh instead of cotton.
Dredges of this sort measure from 5 to 7 feet in width and hold 12
to 15 bushels of oysters (one oyster company uses larger ones holding
nearly 30 bushels; these are emptied by mechanical means). These
dredges are raised and lowered by a heavy chain which passes through
a pulley on a stout post in the midline forward and then down to
the hoister in the hold. The hoister is turned by the engine of the
boat. Plate XIV, figure 2, shows the arrangement of rollers, pul-
leys, post, and dredges on a gasoline power dredging boat. In
Long Island Sound large steamers are often used for dedgi on
leased beds. One company has two steamers each carrying three
dredges on a side, six in all, each with a capacity of nearly 30 bushels.
These two steamers are each about twice as large as any other oyster
steamer in the world, having a capacity of 8,000 bushels (PL XVIII,
fig. 2).

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890. PLATE XIV.


In the center is the post to which are attached the pulleys through which pass the chains
leading to the dredges on each side. When the dredges are being raised and lowered,
the chains move over the rollers on the gunwale.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)




U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

f I

The dredge shown lying on the roller is raised and lowered by the hand windlass over which
the man is stooping. (Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


(Photo from Prof.E. N. Cory, Maryland State Un;versity.)


In t:.,s cae t',e n rt.d.e hs been Ifted by a donkey ene'me, Dart of which may he seen at the r,~ht
(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University '


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

Cambridge is only one of the several important oyster centers on Chesapeake Bay. (Pnoto
from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)


Three dredges lifting 30 bushels each are operated on each side. The capacity of the steamer
is 8,C00 bushels per day. (Photo from H. C. Rowe Co.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.





In most cases the oysters are shoveled from the hold or deck into
large measures or buckets and hoisted to the wharf by a rope passing
over a pulley and operated by hand or by a crane with a donkey
engine as motive power, as in Plate XII, figure 2. The buckets are
emptied onto the wharf and the oysters removed later in wheel-
barrows; or into wheelbarrows and the oysters rolled into the shuck-
ing room on a level with the wharf, or sometimes to a storage room
on an upper floor (P1. XII, fig. 2). Some large oyster companies
have arrangements whereby the buckets are lifted directly into the
storage room, and some have an elevator, the end of which may be
lowered into the boat and the oysters shoveled onto an endless belt
or other carrying device (P1. XIX, fig. 2).
This carrier transports the oysters directly to the storage room or
drops them into another endless bucket-chain carrier which does so.
In case the oysters are to be canned they are dumped from the buckets,
which have lifted them from the boat, directly into cars, which are
then pushed into the steamers inside the cannery.
Brief mention may be made of the practice whereby, in some
localities, oysters, after being taken from the beds, are "floated"
for a time before being used. This process is accomplished by
spreading the oysters out in a large shallow barge or float so con-
structed that, while resting at the surface, water may freely circulate
through it, the oysters thereby being covered at all times. Such
floats vary considerably in structure, often consisting of a rectangular
framework some 12 or 15 feet wide by 20 to 30 feet long, made of
four large timbers 15 or 18 inches in diameter, with a bottom of
boards laid so that cracks are left between them. The float may be
towed to the desired point and anchored either before or after the
oysters are placed in it.
The floating is usually undertaken for one of two purposes-purifi-
cation and cleaning of the oysters or temporary storage. In certain
regions oysters from beds which are exposed to sewage are floated
in waters of a certain degree of saltness designated by the health
authorities until any possible impurities contained are thrown off.
In such salt water the oysters do not become bloated, as they would
if floated in fresh. Oysters are also sometimes floated in order that
they may free themselves from sand or dirt contained in the intestinal
Some companies maintain floats such as described in which a
temporary stock of oysters may be kept a day or two in order to have
a supply on hand to fill extra orders or to tide over a shortage caused
by failure to obtain sufficient stock directly from the beds, for any
cause, such as the breakdown of a boat or formation of heavy ice over
the beds. In this case the floats are placed by the oyster house in
water of about the saltness of that over the beds.
The practice of floating oysters in fresh water of creeks and rivers
for the purpose of "fattening" has largely died out or been suppressed
by health authorities. The oyster did not fatten in such circum-
stances, but merely enlarged itself by absorbing creek water which
the consumer paid for at oyster prices.



Oysters are usually shipped in three general conditions-in the
shell; shucked, on ice; and canned." The building where oysters
are handled in either or both of the first two conditions is referred
to as an oyster house or, in some sections, especially to distinguish
it from a cannery, as a "raw house" or "raw-oyster house." If
oysters are canned, the plant is known as a cannery. Plate XIX,
figure 1, shows the front view of a large oyster house. Oyster houses
are provided with a wharf of some sort, so that the boats may be
unloaded directly, as described above.
Oysters are shipped in the shell usually in barrels, sometimes in
sacks, without ice, although for long distances a refrigerator car is
often used. In many cases, especially for shorter hauls or transporta-
tion by river boats, the barrels are not headed, a piece of heavy gunny-
sack being fastened over the top of the barrel. A considerable
export trade in oysters to England is carried on from the waters of
New York and New England. These oysters go in barrels holding
3 bushels and one-half peck, headed up. Only the best-shaped,
selected oysters are used for the export trade.
A large number of oysters are thus handled in the shell, since oysters
on the half shell have found a place on the menu of the leading
hotels and restaurants. For this purpose oysters from certain
beds have come to be esteemed as most desirable. These have
acquired trade names by which they are universally known and which
are derived from the locality from which the oysters are taken.
The best-known examples are the Blue Points from beds near Blue
Point, a cape on the south side of Long Island; Cotuits, from Cotuit
Harbor, Mass., and Lynnhavens, from Lynnhaven Bay, Va. There
is a growing tendency to look upon these terms merely as trade
names and to employ them to designate any oyster answering the
requirements of size and shape of these oysters, regardless of the
waters from which they were taken.
Blue Points (PI. I) are small oysters, about 3 to 4 inches long by
2 to 2j inches in width. They are rather rounded in form and the
shells are fairly smooth. The meats are small and of very delicate
flavor, making these oysters very acceptable when served raw on
the half shell. For this reason Blue Points have acquired a wide
reputation. Lynnhavens (P1. XX) and Cotuits (PI. XXI) are larger
oysters than Blue Points and of more angular shape. Because of
their fatness and flavor they have become highly esteemed.
Oysters are shipped in the shell to points on the Pacific coast both
for the market and for planting as seed or for fattening. In 1915,
over two-thirds of the 156,104 bushels of oysters produced on the
Pacific coast were raised from transplanted eastern oysters.b
a One firm puts out an oyster powder made by extracting in a vacuum the moisture from oyster meats.
This powder s sold in small val packed in pasteboard cartons and is used in making broths and soups.
So far as the writer is aware, only one firm puts such a product on the market.
SRadliffe L. Fishery Industries of the United tate. Rert of the Division of Statistics and Methods
of the Fisheries or 1918. Appendix X, Report, U. 8. ComsslnrofFisheries, 1918,167pp. Washington,

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


About one-half natural size.


-- '-='1

?'.;br:~rjp.P :

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890. PLATE XXI.

4 -

Seg K I


A:' t one-h:lf natural size.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


The oysters come down from the storage room above and out the bottom
of the V-shaped chute. The worker stands on the bench and places
tie oyster to be opened on the small block on the edge of the table.


(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory. Maryland State University.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


Shucked oysters are placed in metal or glass containers, which are packed in the boxes or
tubs with cracked ice about them.

Each car holds 20 bushels, making 300 bushels In all. The capacity of this cannery is
1,500 bushels per day.




The process of opening an oyster and removing the "meat is known
generally as "shucking. For this purpose the oysters are conveyed
to tables or stalls of various sorts in the oyster house. In the smaller
establishments this is done by wheelbarrow and shovel; in the
larger, the oysters are first taken to a storage room, as described
above, and then let down through chutes to the individual stalls
of the shuckers. Plate XXII, figure 1, represents a shucking table
in one of the large oyster houses. The shucker stands on the bench
before the table. The oysters fall down the slanting chute to the
narrow table along the edge of which are seen the blocks on which
the shucker places the oyster to open it. The shells are thrown
through small chutes in the table and fall into the trough seen below,
whence they are removed by a mechanical carrier.
The process of shucking requires considerable skill and strength
of hand and wrist. Various methods are employed and several slightly
differing styles of opening knives. Some shuckers first break off the
"bill" or tip of the shell with a small hammer, insert the knife into
the opening thus made, and cut the large muscle holding the shell
together. Others scorn such aid, since it takes longer, and by steady
pressure force the knife between the shells at the tips or the side.
A skilled shucker moves his hands so rapidly the eye can hardly
follow the movements. A heavy mitten is worn on the left hand,
which grasps the oyster, the shell being very sharp on the edges.
A fair day's shucking is 10 to 12 gallons. If the oysters are in good
condition, "fat," 12 gallons or a little more may be shucked. The
average yield of shucked oysters from a bushel in the shell varies
greatly with the condition and quality of the oysters. If the oyster
meats are full and plump, they are spoken of as "fat" and the yield
is greater than when "poor"; that is, the meat thin, watery, often
semitransparent. A fair average yield is from 6 to 8 pints per
The "meats" are thrown into a galvanized-iron measure, which in
some cases is perforated to allow he drainage of excess liquor. In
some houses, however, the measures are not perforated and are
partially filled with water into which the oysters are placed as
shucked. When the measure is full it is taken to the measuring
window and the oysters measured or weighed. The shucker some-
times receives a ticket, but in many cases the individual scores are
marked up on a board by the weighing window and payment made
weekly. In the smaller oyster houses the shells are thrown by the
shucker to the floor and later removed in wheelbarrows. In many
such houses each shucker stands in a sort of movable wooden stall
placed before the table. This stall is 18 or 20 inches wide and about
waist-high, being open at the rear so that the shucker may step in
and out readily. Such stalls keep the accumulating piles of shells
from encroaching on the space where the worker stands and also
afford something against which he may lean while working. In
some of the larger houses, where the shells are not thrown on the
floor, the stalls are used merely to satisfy the shuckers who have
S Many, however, shuck more than this amount. The author knows of one man in particular at Hamp-
ton who opened 6 gallons a day. Since his score was marked up and pay given for tis amount.
this record is authentic.


become accustomed to their use in smaller places and find it less
tiring to work while standing in such a stall.
Shuckers are paid by the gallon; during the winter of 1919-20
the price was $0.35 to $0.40 per gallon. Some large firms in New
England employ Portuguese for shucking; in places farther south
many Negroes are used for this work. Both men and women are
often employed; especially is this true where colored labor is used.
After being shucked the oysters are spread out on washing tables.
These are usually comparatively simple in form, as seen in Plate XXII,
figure 2, are made of galvanized iron, and measure about 5 feet long
by 21 wide, the bottom being perforated to allow the water to drain off
and supported on a wooden framework, as shown in the figure. Some
of the larger firms use more or less elaborate washing tables, some being
of the "riffle" style (Pl. XXIII, fig. 1). This consists essentially of a
sloping zinc platform with ridges or elevations across it which retard
the oysters as they are washed down it. The oysters receive several
washings, usually in fresh water from the tap. In some States,
however, the law requires that the washing be done with salt water of a
certain strength in order that the oysters may not be bloated by the
absorption of fresh water. In the larger houses, after receiving a
preliminary washing on tables similar to that in Plate XXIII, figure 1,
they are carried by a gentle stream of water down narrow runways
to tanks on a lower floor (P1. XXIV, fig. 1). These are made of galvan-
ized iron and are about 5 feet square by 15 inches deep. Here they
receive two washings, in some cases compressed air being blown
from pipes through the water in which the oysters are standing.
This is thought by those using it to remove more thoroughly the fine
particles of dirt or bits of sheff. The excess water is allowed to drain
off in the last tank, and the oysters are then packed in various sorts of
containers, as the tin cans in the figure, which are then packed in ice.
Usually the oysters are divided, according to size, into three
grades: Standards, the smallest; Selects, the next; and Counts,
or Extra Selects, the largest. The usual containers are tin cans, as
shown in Plate XXIII, figure 2, of a capacity of 1, 3, or 5 gallons.
The oysters are packed into these without any other liquor than that
remaining after the excess has been drained off, as stated above.
The cover is put on, often secured by a string passed over the top and
attached to lugs on each side. The cans are packed in ice singly in
boxes (P1. XXIV, fig. 2), or several together in a barrel. Sometimes
metal containers, shown at right in Plate XXIII, figure 2, are used.
These are packed in a bucket carrier with ice about them. The
figure also shows the 5-gallon size tin can, the bucket carrier, the
short boxes containing ti cans and a bottle container with paste-
board cap, holding one-tenth gallon. Thirty bottles are packed in a
flat, wide box (see figure), with ice over their tops, and a wooden
cover is nailed on.
Oysters were first canned at Baltimore in 1820, and the expression
"cove oyster," which now seems synonymous with canned oysters,
was originally given to the small oysters found in the coves on the
west bank of Chesapeake Bay between Baltimore and the mouth of
the Potomac.a The industry has spread rapidly in the last 20 years.
o Smih, H. M. Oysters: The World's Most Valuable Water Crop. National Geographic Magazine,
March, 1913, p. 254. Washington.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

The oyster meats come down the metal trough from the floor above. After washing they are
placed in the tin cans.

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)




U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890. PLATE XXVII,

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)

I --. .. I


There are now 15 canneries in Baltimore, which city still leads in
number of canneries; 16 in Mississippi, 12 being at Biloxi; 18 in
Georgia, 4 at Savannah, 4 in and about Brunswick, and others at
smaller points; about 12 in South Carolina; 7 in North Carolina;
6 or 7 in Louisiana; and 4 or 5 in Florida.
Oyster canneries, like raw houses, are located on the water front
with a wharf at which the oysters are unloaded from the boats.
Plate XIV, figure 1, shows a view of an oyster cannery. At most
canneries the oysters are unloaded from the boat in large tubs or
buckets as previously described, and dumped directly into cars 10 or
12 feet long, made of iron strips, basket-fashion, as m Plates XXIII
and XXV. The cars are then pushed on a track into the building.
Plate XXIII, figure 3, shows a line of 15 loaded cars, 20 bushels in
each car, 300 bushels in all. The capacity of this particular cannery
is 1,500 bushels per day.
The cars of oysters are run into rectangular iron steamers, which
are often long enough to accommodate 3 cars at once. Steam is
passed through for from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness
of the shells. The cars are then pushed on out the other end of the
steamer, sometimes being afterwards switched to another track or
another room by the aid of the device shown in Plate XXV, figure
1. The short piece of track upon which the car rests is also provided
with wheels, and the whole is rolled onto a lower track running at
right angles to the first.
The steamed oysters are then opened directly from the cars by
shuckers or openers standing alongside (P1. XXV, fig. 2). Each
worker has a metal bucket, which is suspended by a hook to the
side of the car. The buckets are perforated to allow the escape of ex-
cess liquor. A knife is used, but no such skill or strength is required
as is necessary in the case of raw oysters, since the steamed oysters
have been killed by the process and the shells are gaping and easily
separated. When a worker's bucket is filled, it is taken to the weigh-
ing window, payment being by weight, where either the money or a
ticket is received. Both men and women, and often children over
the legal age, do this work. In Alabama and Mississippi the work-
ers are largely of the Slavic races. In those States many of the
canning firms furnish quarters for their labor, often wood and water
being included.
After being weighed, the oysters are washed two or three times
with tap water in vats or on tables and then carried in buckets to the
packing table (P1. XXVI, fig. 1). The general construction of such
a table is shown in the figure; it is made of wood, of convenient height,
and about 12 feet long by 6 wide in the wider part and 3 in the nar-
rower. The packing is usually done by women or girls, who stand
along the sides of the table. The empty cans are supplied the packers
from boxes behind them, or often a supply is placed along the edge
of the table on which the oysters are piled. The packers at the farther
end (see figure) of the table fill the cans almost full, placing the
oysters in with the hands. They then put the cans in the rack or
trough extending along over the table. The bottom of this is an
endless belt which moves the cans forward until they are stopped
by the crossbar at the nearer end of the trough. One packer stands
on each side of the table, which is narrower here, takes the partially
filled cans from the trough, one at a time, places them on the balances


seen in the figure, and fills them up until the correct weight is reached.
So far in the process there is practically no liquor in the can. Cans
varying in capacity from 3 to 10 ounces are usually packed. The
cans are then placed on another belt, which carries them along the
trough to the left under a length of perforated pipe from which hot
brine drops into the cans.
The belt then takes them to the capping machine (P1. XXVI,
fig. 2), where the cover is put on. This is commonly done by the
crimping process, although some firms still use the method of sealing
the cover on with solder. The machine shown in the figure crimps
the covers on 58 cans per minute.
After leaving the capping machine the cans are placed in large
circular iron baskets, about 4 feet across, and lowered into a cylin-
drical metal processing tank (P1. XXVII, fig. 1). In these tanks
the cans are heated by steam to a high temperature for a short time,
after which they are removed and lowered into a circular wooden
tank or cooler (P1. XXVII, fig. 2), and cooled with running water.
The baskets of cans are then wheeled on tracks to the labeling and
packing room (P1. XXVIII, fig. 1), where the labels are pasted on
y girls or women. The finished product is then packed in boxes,
this work being done by men (P1. XXVIII, fig. 1).
In the larger oyster houses the shells are usually dropped by the
shucker through a chute leading from the table down to a wide endless
belt or a trough through which passes an endless scrape carrier.
These devices carry the shells outside and up an elevator (P1. XXIX,
fig. 1) or an inclined plane (P1. XXVIII, fig. 2). The carrier continues
over the shell heap, sometimes being inclosed, and drops the shells
at certain points, which may be varied as the pile grows (P1. XXVIII,
fig. 2). In other oyster houses, especially the smaller ones, the shells
are removed in wheelbarrows, which are rolled on planks up the side
or across the top of the pile (P1. XXIX, fig. 2).
The shells are used for cultch, as previously described; for making
lime, which is placed on soil as a fertilizer; for poultry grit; for making
shell roads; and for ballast:for railroad track beds. In Plate
XXIX, figure 1, is shown a kiln in which the shells are being burned
to make lime, a pile of the burned shells appearing in the foreground.
The interior of the kiln is cone-shaped at the bottom. The shells
are deposited in the kiln by the elevator, a certain amount of fine coal
being mixed in as fuel. The fire in the lower part of the kiln is kept
burning constantly, and the burned shells are shaken out through
the grate at the bottom. The shells are then allowed to air-slake,
and the lime is sold for fertilizer. The burned shells bring about
$8 per ton. About a ton is put on an acre. A ton of burned shells
increases in bulk to about a ton and a half during the slaking process.
A ton of the slaked lime sells for $6.50.
Crushed shells are used for poultry grit. The shells are first dried
in a direct-heat rotary drier similar to that used in factories where
fertilizer is made from menhaden. The degree of heat applied de-
pends entirely on the percentage of moisture in the shells; the greater
the moisture the higher the temperature required. It is essential
that a close observance be kept during the drying process, in order
to regulate the temperature, as shells may be damaged by too much

U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.


(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)

(Photo from J. S. Darling and Son.)


U. S. B. F.-Doc. 890.

(Photo from Prof. E. N. Cory, Maryland State University.)





heat. If the temperature is too high, the shells are likely to turn
yellow, and if they are not sufficiently dried they may become soft.
If they have been sheltered from the weather and are thoroughly dry
the drying process may be dispensed with. After passing through
the drier they are carried by a conveyer to the crusher and from
there to the screen, which is usually of the revolving type and made of
various-sized mesh to separate the crushed shells into several grades
or sizes.
In Plate XXIX, figure 2, shells are being loaded on cars for road
making. In some cases the shells are partially crushed before being
put on the roads; in other cases they are put on whole and are worn
down by the traffic. Plate V, figure 1, shows shells being loaded on
a scow for planting to catch set.
The shell heaps are cleaned up annually. Most of the shells are
used for one of the above purposes. The shell piles shown in the fig-
ures convey but a faint notion of the actual vast bulk of the oyster
crop taken annually from the waters of the United States.
In each State in which there is an oyster industry there are certain
regulations for its conduct, provided by State law and administered
by officers and inspectors, appointed in nearly all cases by a State
fish or oyster commissioner or president of a State conservation com-
The regulations, while necessarily differing widely to meet the
varying conditions, usually provide for a system of surveying and
staking off with conspicuous buoys or markers the various beds
leased or owned by the planters and the "natural" beds, the latter
being those which have grown up naturally and which are open to
the public. In some States, where there are many leased or privately
owned beds, this surveying is very carefully attended to, and accu-
rate maps of the oyster beds are provided. In others, especially
those in which there are few or no leased beds, the surveys are poorly
cared for, and no maps are kept.
The legal season in which oysters may be taken for market is
usually restricted to the months of September to April, inclusive.
The oyster is thus not interfered with during the spawning season,
which occurs in the summer.
A cull law is usually provided by which oysters under a certain
size-2. or 3 inches generally-may not be taken except for seed,
but must be thrown back on the beds from which lifted. Some States
allow only sailboats and hand dredges to work on natural beds,
as in Long Island Sound; some forbid dredging of any sort, all
oysters being taken with tongs; some allow dredging only on leased
beds; some, only in water of a certain depth; and some allow
engine-driven dredges to be used on boats propelled by sails.
In most States only a legal resident may take oysters from the
waters, and a license fee must usually be paid. In some cases oysters
can not be shipped from the State in the shell, except for seed. This
compels the establishment of oyster houses within the State and the
retention of capital in that State. In others, as Louisiana, the oys-
ters may be shipped out in the shell, but a tax per bushel must be


paid to the State by the shipper. Some States require no license fee,
but the dealer pays a tax per bushel or gallon for oysters sold. This
nominally throws the tax on the dealer instead of the oysterman.
Most States make provision for leasing bottoms for the cultivation
of oysters at a small rental, $0.25 to $1 or $2 per acre, for a term of
years, the number of acres per person being limited. Provision is
usually made that the natural beds may not be leased, but must be
left open to the public. In some of the southern States there is very
little mterest in leasing beds, there being sufficient oysters found on
the natural beds. In such States there is little or no planting done,
except a limited amount by the State in the effort to build up certain
natural beds.
The health authorities of most of the States provide certain regu-
lations requiring that oyster beds be located at safe distances from
sources of contamination, such as sewers, etc., and that oysters must
pass certain rigid inspection tests for bacterial content before being
placed on the market. The Federal Government also inspects oys-
ters which enter into interstate commerce.
There are many other minor regulations peculiar to the different
States and growing out of special conditions prevailing in each. The
details of these may be secured from the State shellfish commissions
of the various States.
For the benefit of those desiring more detailed information relating to the American
oyster of the eastern coast than could be given in a publication of this sort, there is
appended the following brief list of literature. This includes only some of the more
important researches on this subject, together with certain recent papers which show
the present trend of oyster investigations.
1912. A report upon the quahaug and oyster fisheries of Maeachusetts. The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Wright and Potter, State Printers,
Boston. (Treats of the life history of the oyster, a study of the distribu-
tion of the larvae, and methods of oyster culture in Massachusetts.)
Bnoosx, W. K.
1880. Development of the American oyster. Studies from the Biological
Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, No. IV 1880, pp. 1 to 81, 10 pl.
Baltimore. (Dr. Brooks's original paper in which the development of
the American oyster from the egg to the free-swimming larva with a
shell is described for the first time. Standard authority for the ground
it covers.)
1906. Theoyster; a popularsummary of scientific study. 2dandrev. ed. The
Johns Hopkine Press, Baltimore. (Semipopular account of the anatomy,
development, and habits of the oyster and suggestions for methods of
oyster culture in Chesapeake Bay.)
CHuacmH, E. P. JR., and GuTszxL, S.
The investigation of the oyeter larvae of Great South Bay. Forthcoming
report, U. 8. Bureau of Fisheries. (Describes methods for making col-
lections and surveys of the distribution of oyster larva with respect to
placing cultch and the results of the application of these methods to a
particular region.)
ConB, R. E.
1907. Exeriments in oyster culture in Pamlico Sound, N. C. North Carolina
eogicaland Economic Survey BulletinNo.15. Raleigh. (Describes
experiments showing that the planting of both seed oysters and cultch
could be profitably undertaken in North Carolina if State laws provided
for leasing of ground and protection of lessee.)
1917. Condition and extent of the natural oyster beds and barren bottoms in the
vicinity of Apalachicola, Fla. Appendix V, Report, U. 8. Commis-
sioner of Fisheries, 1916, 88 pp., 7 ple., 1 chart. Waihington.


1912. A manual of oyster culture in Maryland. Fourth Report of the Maryland
Shellfish Commission, 1912. Baltimore. (Describes oyster conditions
in Chesapeake Bay, character of bottom, food, etc., and suggests methods
of culture.)
1910. Shellfish industries. Henry Holt & Co., New York. (Includes accounts
of the life history of oysters, clams, and scallops. Treats quite exhaus-
tively the industries connected with the putting of these bivalves on the
MrrcsELL, P. H.
1914. The effect of water-gas tar on oysters. Bulletin, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries,
Vol. XXXII, 1912, pp. 199-206. Washington.
1914. The oxygen requirements of shellfish. Ibid., pp. 207-222.
1917. Nutrition of oysters: Glycogen formation and storage. Bulletin, U. S.
Bureau of Fisheries, Vol. XXXV, 1915-16, pp. 151-162. Washington.
1918. Nutrition of oysters: The nature of the so-called "fattening" of oysters.
Ibid., pp. 477-484.
MITCHEzL, P. H., and BARNEY, R. L.
1917. The occurrence in Virginia of green-gilled oysters similar to those of
Marennes. Ibid., pp. 135-150.
1897. Oysters and methods of oyster culture. In A manual of fish culture.
Appendix, Report of Commissioner, U. S. Commission of Fish and Fishe-
ries, 1897, pp. 265-338, 18 ps. Washington.
1907. Survey of oyster bottoms in Matagorda Bay, Tex. Document 610, U. S.
Bureau of Fisheries, 86 pp., 13 pls., 1 chart. Washington.
1910. Condition and extent of the oyster beds of James River, Va. Document
729, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries, 83 pp., 2 charts. Washington.
1911. Condition and extent of the natural oyster beds of Delaware. Document
746, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries, 30 pp., 1 chart. Washington.
1913. Condition and extent of the natural oyster beds and barren bottoms of
Mississippi Sound, Ala. Document 769, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries,
02 pp., pls., 1 map. Washington.
1913. Condition and extent of the natural oyster beds and barren bottoms of
Mississippi east of Biloxi. Document 774, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries,
42 pp., 6 pls., 1 map. Washington.
MOORE, H. F., and POPE, T. E. B.
1910. Oyster culture experiments and investigations in Louisiana. Document
731, U. S. Bureau of Fisheries, 52 pp., 8 pis. Washington.
1915. Condition and extent of the natural oyster beds and barren bottoms of
Lavaca Bay, Tex. Appendix II, Reprt, U. S. Commissioner of Fish-
eries, 1914,45 pp., 5 pls., 1 chart. Washington. (Besides constituting
an exhaustive survey of the oyster beds of the regions covered, these
publications of Dr. H. F. Moore and coworkers treat the food and the
enemies of the oyster peculiar to each area very thoroughly. They
contain valuable data which can not be found elsewhere.)
1888-1893, 1900-1915. Studies on the development, habits, and propagation of
the oyster. Reports, N. J. Agricultural College Experiment Station,
1888-1893 and 1900-1915. (Includes first study of movements and dis-
tribution of oyster larvae in the water, much data concerning development
of the larvae and long, painstaking attempts to rear the larvae in the labo-
ratory after artificial fertilization of the eggs.)
1916. Studies of the distribution of the oyster larvae in Little Egg Haibor, N. J.
Report, N. J. Agricultural College Experiment Station, 1916. (System-
atic survey of the distribution of oyster larvae made by countingnumbers
found in samples of water of definite size taken at representative points.)
1913. The Canadian oyster, its development, environment, and culture. Com-
mission of Conservation, Ottawa, Canada. (Most complete and detailed
life history of the American oyster yet prepared. Describes the first use
[1904] of the townet in collecting oyster larve for study.)
1916. Artificial purification of oysters. Reprint No. 351, Public Health Re-
ports, U. S. Public Health Service, 4 pp. Washington.

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