Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Production: Many of our oyster projects are intended to help establish a healthy, self-sustaining and commercially viable population of oysters in Narragansett Bay. These long-term restoration efforts are expected to benefit commercial and recreational fishermen; provide critical benthic habitat for fish and other important species, and through their capacity as biological filters, provide a valuable ecological function to Narragansett Bay.
These projects include the use of the Blount Oyster Pond and Jenny’s Creek Spawning Sanctuary on Prudence Island, and a growing list of other protected oyster sites in Narragansett Bay, the Coastal Ponds and Block Island. For several years now, oyster areas have been established in formerly productive areas and restocked annually. These sites use oyster seed produced in our hatchery and have been funded and supported through a variety of agencies including the Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative, Ocean Trust Foundation, National Fisheries Institute, the Island Foundation, Blount Seafood Company and the Narragansett Bay Resources Foundation.
The Blount Family of Warren, RI has been in the marine trades, seafood and oyster harvesting business for generations. In the 1970’s, Luther Blount (1916-2006) decided to try oyster cultivation using an innovative salt marsh pond that he created at the Jenny’s Creek Salt Marsh on Prudence Island. By controlling the direction of water flow in the tidal pond, Mr. Blount could cycle nourishment for his young oysters. Started as a commercial enterprise, over time the project evolved into a restoration effort supplying oyster larvae to the upper part of Narragansett Bay. CEED began working with Mr. Blount in 2002 to help maintain the oyster pond, and later to introduce disease resistant strains of local oysters into the pond. By serving as a protected spawning sanctuary, these oysters grow and reproduce, sending millions of larvae out into the bay. Mr. Blount generously established the Narragansett Bay Resources Foundation to see that this work continues into the future.
Each year, the CEED hatchery produces ~50,000 oysters to be suspended from rafts in the Blount oyster pond. In addition, over one million young oysters have been planted directly into Jenny’s Creek. The pond and creek have been designated a special shellfish management zone.