Processes & Techniques

The East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery is fully integrated, producing mass quantities of shellfish food, in the form of microalgae, conditioning broodstock to spawn both actively and passively, spawning and rearing larvae and producing and maintaining equipment.

Spawning as well as larval and early juvenile rearing take place at the Montauk hatchery site. Later juvenile nursery systems employing flowing ambient water are on Three Mile Harbor, East Hampton. Field growout systems consisting of on/off bottom bags, trays and nets reside in Napeague Harbor, Amagansett.
Each year, broodstock conditioning begins in January and spawning starts in February. A biweekly schedule of spawning is followed, conducting three spawns of each oysters and clams. Scallops are retrieved ripe, from the wild, and spawned immediately as conditions dictate, usually beginning in June. Eastern oysters are set singly on microcultch, and if surpluses exist, some may be set on shell, commonly referred to as spat on shell. By season's end, hard clams reach a size of one half to three quarters of an inch, while oysters and scallops can grow to 1 ½ to 2 inches. After seeding, clams reach a harvestable size in 3 to 5 years, oysters in 2 to 3 years, and scallops in 1 year.