- On 12th February 2020
- In Ecology, Research and Development, Water Management
- By Izaak
Exo Environmental have recently started working on a new flat oyster research and development (R&D) project, funded by CEFAS as part of their Seafood Innovation Fund which aims to promote and develop technologies and methods to reinvigorate aquaculture production within British maritime waters.
CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science) have given the green light to Exo and its project partners; Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners (BHC), Richard Haward Oysters (RHO) and the University of Essex (UoE), to start the preliminary planning phases of its new project, termed ‘3D spat collectors’.
This new R&D project aims to work towards a viable innovation that reduces commercial risk to native flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) production, by using existing technology with new modifications to increase the efficiency of spat collection from bed reared oysters. The project aims to develop, through research and trials, a unique 3D printed reusable mould, into which a mix of stabilised sediment is cast. The technology is based on Exo’s ‘GeoBlockTM’ concept and the use of clean dredged sediment will provide the base substrate, upon which the oysters will spat.
Exo and its project partners will work towards developing several 3D mould designs of different textures and sediment with lime, flat oyster shell and standard stabilised sediment to establish the properties of the most productive spat collector design.
The results of this project will help inform the partners on the practicality and commercial viability of these 3D spat collectors, in helping to increase native oyster aquaculture production. The use of dredged sediment provides significant environmental advantages, in re-using a product classed as a waste, building towards the UK’s goals of a sustainable circular economy. If successful, the long term vision of this project is to use these results to help implement GeoBlock 3D spat collectors in oyster fisheries across the UK, not only developing sustainable economic production but also providing a spawning substrate for an endangered endemic species.