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SARDI seeds new hope for US oyster industry

SARDI shellfish aquaculture specialist, Mark Gluis has played a significant role in efforts to regenerate oyster grounds in Louisiana, USA after being appointed Louisiana Sea Grant’s Laborde Chair in May this year to work on hatchery production of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).

The Louisiana Sea Grant's Laborde program brings qualified scientists to Louisiana State University to focus on marine and coastal issues critical to the state. Mark was appointed to commission flow through algal and larval culture systems, assisting in the development of the oyster aquaculture industry after the $300 million wild catch industry suffered severe loses following multiple hurricanes, severe flooding events, disease episodes, issues with siltation and the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

During Mark’s visit over 200 million oyster larvae were produced, with 100 million larvae and 500,000 spat being distributed to oyster reefs in Barataria Bay in an effort to restore the population.

The international recognition of Mark's expertise highlights the quality and depth of capability within the SARDI shellfish aquaculture program.

At SARDI, Mark Gluis is working with Dr Xiaoxu Li, Subprogram Leader Genetics, Reproduction & Biotechnology, on a Fisheries Research & Development Corporation project investigating the feasibility of initiating the aquaculture of a  novel shellfish species.  Initial hatchery production has been very successful with high survival rates and good growth; field trials are planned in the near future. Opportunities are also being explored in relation to shellfish stock enhancement.

Full article, 'Lab-raied baby oysters planted in Barataria Bay,' 4 June 2011, Daily Comet.