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Culturing Penshells at the Cape Eleuthera Institute

October 1, 2012
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Two weeks ago the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) harvested over one hundred black penshells from a beautiful beach at Ten Bay, located near Palmetto Point. Penshells are a kind of scallop, and we aim to culture them here at CEI for a of couple reasons. As filter feeders, penshells thrive in water with higher nutrients, using the nutrients to grow and as a result clean the surrounding water. Currently, we have our collected penshells in two separate groups: one group in the wet lab in a flow through tank, and another group in a small cage about 100m off the beach where our main pump intake is. In the lab, we feed the penshells concentrated microalgae, whereas the group out in the ocean does not get fed. We are monitoring both groups daily, by recording temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity.

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Once both groups are acclimated and showing good growth rates, we are going to attempt to breed them and raise penshells into maturity. We plan on putting the resulting stock in the mangrove area next to the wet lab effluent water outflow. This water is high in nutrients, and should provide an excellent environment for the penshells to thrive, while reducing our nutrient input to the mangrove system. Additionally, we plan on putting a group of penshells down current at the cage as well for the same reason. Any excess nutrients resulting from our intensive cobia aquaculture will be taken up by the penshells, mitigating our environmental impact while providing us another product to harvest and market.

Soon there will be cleaner water and tasty scallops here at CEI, stay tuned!

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