River Exe, Exmouth Mussels

This native oyster farm is operated by Aquafish Solutions Ltd. in association with Exmouth Mussels. We seek to restore this traditional species to the River Exe through commercial aquaculture, whilst providing a broodstock of oysters, that it is hoped will encourage further natural settlement. The native oyster was the subject of a prolific fishery in the River Exe during the 19th Century until by 1863 overfishing exhausted the stocks. The native oyster cultivation site consists of the inter-tidal area of the west bank of the River Exe. This site has been selected because of its previous use as an area for trestle-based culture of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas).

The native oysters will be cultivated using an innovative rigid cylinder oyster cultivation system, ORTAC, together with a steel staple design of trestle. It is anticipated that the native oysters will require coverage by water for ~80% of the time which means that the culture area will be slightly lower than that normally used for Pacific oysters.  It is thought that this will allow access for an average of approximately 2-3 days over a spring tide period.  Stocking densities will be kept low in order to reduce the need for handling and grading. This will therefore limit the need for access and therefore disturbance at the site

Based on native oyster growth rates obtained from Jersey it is possible that using the ORTAC system that market size might be achieved in 2 years when using diploid native oyster stock. End market will be both for the table and for restocking in other areas.

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