Farm Name: Goat Island Oysters LLC
Farm Address: 713 Sagamore Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone Number: 603-785-9355 / 603-496-8973
Responsible for BMP: Todd Diggins & Jay Stensney (Owners)
Date of Latest Revision: January 1, 2014
Species Grown: Eastern Oyster Crassostrea Virginica
Location of Farm Little Bay Newington, NH
Description of Farm Process:
Oyster spat purchased from approved disease free hatcheries cared for in an upweller and transferred to a bottom culture site in Little Bay.
CODE OF CONDUCT:
We endorse the ECSGA Code of Conduct for Molluscan Shellfish
Shellfish farmers shall:
• Conduct aquaculture operations in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and acquire and maintain all pertinent permits.
• Make the best effort to produce and handle products of the highest quality and ensure product safety.
• Make a best effort to communicate early and openly with water based and land based neighbors about all facets of their operation.
• Work to benefit the local economy by patronizing local businesses and through employment and contributions to the tax base and infrastructure.
• Site, plan, develop and manage aquaculture operations in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts.
• Site, plan, develop and manage aquaculture operations in a manner that ensures the economic and social sustainability of the operation.
• Take all appropriate measures to avoid and contain disease outbreaks and report them quickly to the proper authorities if suspected.
• Dispose of culturing waste and chemicals in a manner that does not constitute a hazard to human health or to the environment.
• Consult and collaborate with government authorities, researchers, other producers and stakeholders for the development and implementation of regulations, technologies and standards to achieve environmentally, economically and socially sustainable shellfish culture when feasible.
• Encourage other growers to adopt the shellfish code of conduct and better management practices.
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ELEMENTS
PERMITS AND TITLES HELD
We have all of the permits required by the state to operate a shellfish farm and to sell our product in-state and out-of-state.
• Our farm site has the appropriate licenses from the state and we pay an annual fee to maintain the license with an option to secure the site for 5 years
THE FARM SITE
It is important to have a farm site that will support good shellfish survival and growth, and at the same time avoid unnecessary conflicts with navigation, traditional fishing and protected habitats and species. It is a state requirement to mark the farm site, and these markers also serve to keep recreational and commercial boat traffic away from the site to avoid damage to the boats and to the growing shellfish. Site marking also serve to minimize inadvertent or intentional poaching. A good farm site also need to be protected from future changes that could make the farm site unusable or less valuable, especially upland or upstream development that could negatively impact water quality or reduce access to the sites.
• Our farm site and plan was reviewed in a public meeting and approved by the Department of Fish and Game.
• Farm boundaries are marked according to state regulations.
• GPS is used to ensure that farm operations occur in the permitted location.
• Damaged or missing boundary markers are replaced as soon as possible.
• Marker buoys are bright colored to be more visible to recreational boaters.
POTENTIAL CHANGES TO SITES AND SITE ACCESS
• We participate in public hearings for projects that will negatively affect farm operations.
• We look for opportunities, and when possible make presentations at public events in order to educate stakeholders about shellfish farming and its benefits.
GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY
We recognize that even though we took care to properly site our farm that there are still some cases where we need to take extra care to be good neighbors. The following are some of the things we do to be good neighbors.
• We operate boats and machinery to minimize noise.
• We seek to minimize noise from the farm when it might bother neighbors.
RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL BOATING
• The farm area is clearly marked with buoys to keep recreational boats away from the area.
• Farm gear is regularly inspected for damage caused by boats
One of the most important aspects of good management on the farm is the selection of seed and its source. Good seed will grow faster and stay healthier. And choosing seed from reputable hatcheries lessens the possibility of introducing diseases and unwanted organisms into our environment. For these reasons we:
• We purchase seed from reputable hatcheries.
• We purchase seed from out-of-state hatcheries that are approved by state officials.
• We purchase seed that has been breed as disease resistance.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: IN-WATER NURSERIES
We operate an in-water nursery to grow seed to a planting size.
• We operate a floating nursery under a dock which we rent.
• We clean our floating nursery frequently to minimize the amount of material entering the water.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: FOULING CONTROL
One of the most difficult tasks on our farm is keeping the gear and the shellfish free of fouling organisms. The task is similar to that land farmers face with weed control.
• We clean our in-the-water gear frequently to minimize the amount of material entering the water.
• When fouling is heavy we remove gear from the water and clean it at our on-land facility.
• All of our in-the-water gear cleaning is done by hand or with a power washer.
• When fouling is heavy we use air-drying to control it.
• We never use chemicals that could harm the environment at our farm site.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: PREDATOR CONTROL
There are a number of predators that prey on shellfish and in some cases can occur in significant numbers. It is important for us to recognize predators that can cause harm, and either keep them away from our crop through exclusion or directly eliminate them by other means.
• The cages and/or bags we use keep most predators away from our crop.
• When predators are found in the cages we remove and release them.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: GEAR MAINTENANCE, DISPOSAL AND RECYCLING
The gear we use to grow our shellfish represents a significant investment, and we do everything we can to make sure it stays in place and doesn't become a hazard or nuisance to others. We are also committed to recycling as much material as possible when it is no longer usable.
• We use robust anchoring systems for our gear to avoid loss in severe weather events.
• We instruct employees to discard nothing into the bay where our farm is located.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: FUEL HANDLING AND FUEL SPILL CONTINGENCIES
We know that considerable environmental damage can come from gasoline or oil spills. In our case some of the equipment we use in the field runs on gasoline. It is important to us and to the environment to take precautions with fuels.
• Farm employees are instructed in proper fuel and oil handling procedures to minimize possible spills.
• Farm equipment is well-maintained to minimize fuel and oil leaks.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: HANDLING AND REPORTING DISEASE
The shellfish we grow are susceptible to a couple of diseases caused by microscopic organisms. These diseases do not affect the quality of our product nor do they pose any problems for people who consume them. Keeping disease to a minimum on our farm is important and it is important for us to communicate farm diseases to other growers and to state authorities so that disease outbreaks can be contained as well as possible. In order to control diseases on the farm:
• We use disease-resistant stocks to minimize disease effects.
• We will communicate confirmed disease events to appropriate authorities and neighboring growers.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: PROTECTED SPECIES AND HABITATS
Protecting vulnerable species and sensitive habitats is important to us and to the community.
OPERATIONAL/MAINTENANCE ISSUES: PROTECTING HUMAN HEALTH
Producing and selling a product that is safe to eat is critical to our business. The National Shellfish Sanitation Program, working through our state authorities, sets the food safety standards by which we operate.
• We comply with all state regulations that safeguard consumers who eat our products.
• We get our shellfish under refrigeration immediately after harvest.
RECORD KEEPING - MONITORING THE CROP AND THE ENVIRONMENT
As in any business, maintaining good records is a key part of good management. Having good records of the environment and good data for our crops allows us to become more efficient.
• We monitor our crops through careful observations of their condition, and by taking measurements and counts of the stock.
1.5₵ for each oyster sold is paid to the New Hampshire Fish and Game general fund