Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) populations in New Hampshire have experienced severe declines since the 1990s, and restoration of oyster populations has been a major goal for New Hampshire management agencies. The most widely used technique in recent years in New Hampshire has been "spat seeding" which involves setting larvae from disease-resistant and/or fast-growth broodstock onto cultch material in large shore-based tanks, then distributing the spat attached to cultch onto the bottom to initiate reef restoration. This approach has the dual potential of providing direct population enhancement as well as introduction to the local gene pool of disease-resistance and/or fast-growth potential. Although spat seeding has been shown to be an effective technique much remains to be learned about the overall restoration process, particularly specific design criteria, the most effective combinations of methods, and long-term viability of "restored" bottom areas.
The present project was designed in part based on results of earlier experimental work (mainly the use of spat seeding) to address the general management question: "How should reefs be structurally enhanced (if at all) to enhance oyster populations and improve spat set?"
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Grizzle, Raymond E.; Burdick, David M.; Greene, Jennifer; Abeels, Holly; and Capone, Mark, "Reef Structure Alternatives for Restoration of Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Populations in New Hampshire" (2006). PREP Publications. 272.