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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It would take 90 million (!) oysters to clean Great Bay

Factoid learned from NH Public Radio this morning: It would take about 90 million oysters to filter and clean the water that runs through New Hampshire's Great Bay. We're about 89 million and a bit short of that, but oyster farming is starting to take off, as the excellent report details (read it, or listen to it, here).

I was interested to hear this story because years ago I wrote about the first private oyster farm startup - I can't find the story online, it's that old - and haven't been back since to see how it's going. The report said there are now 8 farms in operation, all in Little Bay (closer to the ocean than Great Bay, which is closed to oyster farming because of environmental rules), although the report says only one is making enough money for the owner to live off it.

Oyster farming is a rare form of agriculture which produces environmental benefits all around, since in the process of filter feeding, the oysters clean the water. A thriving oyster industry in the NH Seacoast would not only make some money for local farmers but reduce the cost of pollution control.