Economics of Remote SettingContact: Matt Parker
Remote setting is a technique for producing oyster seed from larvae. It consists of two phases: (1) setting, in which larvae attach to "cultch," a setting material such as shell; and (2) a nursery period where newly set oysters (called seed) are placed in protected areas until they are ready for planting. Oyster growers often use remote setting when natural seed supplies are not consistently available or must be purchased. By using your own cultch, labor and equipment, you can reduce the cost of seed, a major factor in oyster farming; with practice and planning, you can produce a consistent supply to meet your own needs.
Many factors must be considered in a successful remote setting system. Reducing labor and effort in handling cultch is critical. Pollutants and toxic materials must be avoided, and providing favorable conditions will improve the survival of oysters and profitability of a system. With good records, frequent monitoring and some luck, you can achieve a stable source of oyster seed for planting or sales.
To help those considering starting up a remote setting operation, Aquaculture Business Specialist Matt Parker has created the Excel worksheet below designed to give a general estimate of costs for constructing and operating a remote setting system for oysters in Maryland. Download the spreadsheet and plug in detailed information about your plans — including production, system, cost, labor and equipment and the specifics of your location — to decide whether remote setting is feasible for you.