Larval Production & Hatchery for Oysters and Shellfish

Enduramaxx Larval Production & Hatchery for Oysters and Shellfish

Larval Production & Hatchery for Oysters and Shellfish

Larval Production & Hatchery for Oysters and Shellfish, the shellfish industry is an important contributor to the UK economy and is worth over £250 million annually. Shellfish farming, particularly of mussels and oysters, accounts for a large part of the industry.  Shellfish farming in the UK is a multi-million-pound business that produces thousands of tonnes of shellfish each year.

Shellfish culture is a major sector of aquaculture production worldwide, and the practice is growing. It is sustainable, has low impact and produces a range of products. The main products are mussels, but scallops and oysters are also bred.

One essential requirement is a supply of completely clean water to grow healthy shellfish that are safe to eat. Your holding facilities, hatcheries and tanks must be accessible and easy to clean, with an adequate supply of clean water.

What is an oyster and shellfish hatchery?

A hatchery is a place where an environment is provided for the early part of oyster and shellfish life. The shellfish include clams, oysters, and molluscs. They provide young oysters for breeding, research, eating and for their pearls and shells. The hatcheries vary in size according to cost and estimated production.

They all need an adequate water supply of the right salinity, preferably with a back-up system. In some cases, the water may be pumped into a large holding tank and allowed to settle. This reduces the turbidity before it is passed into the hatchery.

Oyster Biology

Oysters naturally live in dense aggregations – known as beds or reefs. They thrive best in estuaries where the water salinity is around 10-25 ppt. when the temperature of the water rises in spring, the oysters spawn, releasing eggs and sperm into the water, thus reproducing.

When the hatchery provides the right environment oysters can grow even better than in the wild and provide a sustainable and healthy crop.

What you need for oyster and shellfish production

Tanks for larval production allied to a plentiful supply of suitable seawater.

  • Water supply
  • Large holding tank for larvae
  • Nursery tank
  • Suitable plumbing
  • Water quality control

The water supply essentials

Shellfish hatcheries are located near seawater sources for the water. The water must be treated since perfectly clean water of the right salinity is essential for the production of shellfish. A small cartridge or ultraviolet steriliser and filter system is installed. The design of the plumbing includes water filtration systems such as cartridge filters, sand filters, activated carbon, UV light or pasteurisation. Once the water has been treated it can be used to produce shellfish, including oysters, and algae (on which they feed).

Large holding tanks

Oyster hatcheries need large holding tanks for clean seawater that has a salinity between 15-30 parts per thousand (ppt). In some cases, the water is first pumped into a large holding tank and allowed to settle – this reduces the turbidity.

Larval production tanks contain 250 gallons (946 litres) of water or more.  They are circular and have drains in the centre, conical bottoms, or slopes to make cleaning easier. Drainpipes are sited to enable the operator to drain the water and to sieve the larvae.

Nursery tanks

The juvenile oysters reside in shallow rectangular tanks and kept well aerated. They are provided with blowers or the correct size, good quality air stones, vinyl piping an overhead PVC tubing.


A system for bringing the seawater to the hatchery is required and a dual system provides a safety backup plus the ability to let one line become anoxic while the other is being used.

Enduramaxx Aquaculture Tanks, Our Core Products

Several Orders and Regulating Orders

Before you even start to farm shellfish there is a lengthy process of permissions to go through. These are known as the Several Orders and Regulating Orders and when completed will give you the sole right to farm named species in a designated area. So first you must find out if anyone already has rights to that area, and if so, what those rights are.

These could include:

  • Navigation and harbour authorities
  • People who already fish there for commerce or recreation
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales

There are two types of order:

  • Several Orders, these are granted for setting up or improving private shellfisheries
  • Regulating Orders, these give permission to manage a natural shellfishery

The process has been designed to control infectious disease, so it is very thorough. You can contact the Fish heath Inspectorate for guidance and authorisation. Once you have the necessary permission you will have to maintain certain standards and keep specific records. You will be subject to regular checks and sample taking by the inspectors.

Which species does an order cover?

  • Oysters
  • Cockles
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Scallops and queen scallops
  • Lobsters
  • Crabs and others when needed

Several Orders

These give you the legal right to the take named shellfish from the designated area. You can create shellfish beds and maintain them, and you can move the shellfish around within your area. If anyone else muscles in – it is an offence.

Regulating Orders

These give you the power to regulate the use of your area by other people. They can only dredge or take shellfish with your permission.

How to apply for and order

You need to apply to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in England or to the Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales.

You will need to submit a management plan – there is a template here.

You will also have to shoulder any costs involved in setting up your hatchery. There is more information here.

Enduramaxx tanks

Our conical tanks are ideal for larval production and hatcheries for shellfish including oysters. Here are some of the features that make for successful production:

  • Made from rotationally moulded plastic – durable lasts many years.
  • UV stabilised
  • Food grade material – so safe for food production
  • The cone shape makes drainage cleaning and maintenance easy
  • Various cone angles – from 50 to 60o
  • The inner walls are smooth – easier to clean
  • Lightweight yet robust – a lip around the top of the tank reinforces it keeps its shape
  • A size to suit – 250 litres – 25,000 litres
  • Support frames – stainless steel, galvanised or painted
  • Outlets customised to suit the pipework

Larval Production & Hatchery for Oysters and Shellfish

Shellfish and oyster farming are increasingly important multi-million-pound enterprises. The regulations required are designed to ensure that the shellfish are disease-free and safe for consumption. It may take a while to complete an application to farm shellfish – but once your system is set up your area is protected.

You will need a location where you have good access to seawater – and you need the right equipment. This includes the vertical storage tanks and all their fittings – drainage, cleaning, maintenance, and the ability to sieve the larvae.

Enduramaxx have the experience and knowledge as well as the ideal tanks for shellfish farming and we are very happy to discuss your needs with you if you give up a ring on 01778 562810


Shellfisheries several orders and regulating orders

The Several and Regulated Fisheries (Form of Application) Regulations 1987

. Shellfisheries: Several Orders and Regulating Orders

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