Oysters are a delicacy that can be found in many coastal regions around the world. In the United States, the oyster industry is particularly strong in Fairhope, Alabama. But how does it compare to other coastal regions?The oyster industry in Fairhope is flourishing due to the efforts of local producers and organizations like Oyster South. This organization is devoted to raising awareness about Southern oysters and oyster farming, and its members include Fisher, Bancroft, the Zirlotts and Crockett.
These producers are helping to create new reefs and restore existing ones to improve connectivity and establish a network of intertidal and subtidal oyster resources. The oysters are grown in breeding tanks, where the water from the Gulf flows over them in a continuous flow. This allows them to filter the water and take their food by themselves. The industrial term for these adolescent oysters is “seed”. After completing a course, students can start a pilot farm in one of the laboratory's water parcels. The oysters are then harvested and sold to distributors like Steel City Seafood.
The oysters are as young as three days old when they are sold, and they end up in restaurants all over the country. The flavor of each cultivated oyster is unique due to the mixture of salt, phytoplankton and other elements in a certain stretch of water. Oyster reef restoration projects have also been successful in Mobile Bay. Eggs from hatcheries are deposited in old oyster shells and placed back in the bays, where they sink to the bottom and are taken over by nature. Wild oyster harvests have been declining in recent years, but deepwater farming could be part of the solution. New producers like Tyler Myers are also helping to keep the industry alive. In conclusion, the oyster industry in Fairhope, Alabama is thriving due to the efforts of local producers and organizations like Oyster South.
The flavor of each cultivated oyster is unique due to the mixture of salt, phytoplankton and other elements in a certain stretch of water. Oyster reef restoration projects have also been successful in Mobile Bay, and deepwater farming could be part of the solution for declining wild harvests.