The Indian Island Aquaculture Development Corporation has been growing high quality choice and cocktail oysters Crassostrea virginica) since 2007. This particular type of oyster has an important environmental value. Like all oysters, C. virginica is a filter feeder. They suck in water and filter out the plankton and detritus to swallow, then spit the water back out, thus cleaning the water around them. Spawning occurs once the oyster reaches around 4 months old and occurs once per year in the months between June and August once the water temperature rises.
To date there are approximately 2.6 million oysters on-site in various stages of growth. The farm has 4 leases in total, 3 used as grow-out leases and 1 as overwintering. They use OysterGro® cages made with wire mesh bags and plastic buoys that hold six Vexar® bags per cage. These cages are proven to be the most efficient method of growing oysters in the Maritime region. The cages float on the water’s surface which allows the oysters to feed on the abundant nutrients and plankton. The cages are sunk to the riverbed in the late fall for the winter months so that ice does not damage them and brought back to the surface in early spring to fully take advantage of the growing season which usually takes place from early May to early November every year.
Indian Island Development Corporation has five (5) fulltime seasonal employees with additional 1-2 summer students who help sort oysters when being readied for sale, all the employees are community members. The company has over $600K in assets and operates from an oyster building that is situated besides the Indian Island Band hall which is directly in front of the leases for easy access.