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Production of FAO technical manuals

Production of technical manuals on oyster and mussel production for the UN Food & Agriculture Organization. The guides provide a foundation of practical knowledge to new farmers and existing operators who wish to develop their farms and explore different cultivation techniques. The ultimate goal of the manuals is to assist both nations and communities to advance and expand their bivalve cultivation, enabling the production of a highly nutritious food source in an ecologically sustainable fashion.

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Regeneration of traditional oyster beds

When we took over operations at the Duchy of Cornwall Oyster Farm, the traditional oyster beds had lain fallow for the past 25 years. Vast quantities of silt and debris had built up on the once pristine beds and, due to the adverse conditions, there were very few oysters to be found. Over the next few years, using traditional and innovative techniques, we restored the beds to their productive best, increasing our production from zero to over 150 tonnes annually and returning Helford River oysters to the tables of some of the finest restaurants in the UK and Europe.

Mussel raft & Long line production sites

Management of mussel production at two separate sights, one estuarine and another offshore. At the estuarine site, we used traditional Galician designed rafts and at the offshore site, we used longlines with suspended ropes to capture mussel spat which was then grown on to a high quality, market size product.

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Sub-tidal oyster cage cultivation system

On this aquaculture production site, we had very little intertidal foreshore on which to deploy traditional trestles and bags to grow oysters. To solve this problem, we devised as system of subtidal cages that could be raised to the surface by our workboat when grading or inspection was required. it also allowed us to hold more stock per square meter than the traditional trestles which allowed us to expand our production capability.

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Floating Upwelling System

In collaboration with our hatchery partner, Guernsey Sea Farms, we designed and built a solar powered Floating Upwelling System to be used as a nursery raft for our seed oysters. This vastly reduced mortality in this stage of the growth cycle, allowing us to increase our production and ultimately improve our profitability.

Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative

In collaboration with Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England, we worked with local farmers and a range of other partners to improve water quality in our estuary. Run-off from agricultural activities causes issues such as increased sedimentation of the shellfish beds, higher levels of nitrates in the water leading to harmful, anoxic algal blooms and downgrading of the water classification leading to interruptions in business. By encouraging better working practices within the local farming community, we managed to significantly reduce their impact on the marine environment of our area.  

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