The Sandbar Oyster Company was formed by a marine scientist and a commercial fisherman. They found a common cause: oyster farming. The company came up with a revolutionary method of growing oysters. It is also involved in building oyster reefs and protecting shorelines. The Sandbar Oyster Company uses shellfish to improve their surroundings. Some of the activities involved are:
· Protecting estuarine shorelines
· Feeding a population that continues to grow
· Cleaning and maintaining estuaries
David “Clammerhead” Cessna was recruited as a Commercial Fisherman Collaborator in 2009. He was hired by Dr. Niels Lindquist and Dr. Joel Fodrie. They are residents at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). His work involved conducting research projects. Such projects were funded by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program.
Clammerhead worked on many research projects focused on problems with oyster community development. He included numerous types of reef foundation materials. He was able to work with personnel at the IMS faculty. His help mainly came from including technicians and graduate students.
From the research, Clammerhead and Lindquist came up with a biodegradable Oyster Catcher. It brought new methods of growing oysters and restoring estuarine habitats. This invention led to the founding of the Sandbar Oyster Company.
The company focuses on offering solutions based in nature to restore estuarine habitats. It also protects coastal populations from the impacts of flooding and erosion.
Sandbar Oyster Company is made up of well-equipped professionals. They are very knowledgeable and are experts in their fields. These include;
1. Niels Lindquist
After his degree in chemistry, Niels conducted research at the University of California. His research involved chemical ecology and natural products in chemistry. He researched marine chemical ecology as his postdoctoral. He spent many years looking into coral reefs until he changed to North Carolina oysters.
2. David “Clammerhead” Cessna
David gained some of his early fishing knowledge from his grandfather. From the age of six, he was immersed in the world of shellfish and the mysteries of commercial fishing. His grandfather tried to discourage him from getting into the industry. However, Clammerhead was adamant. He has had a successful career in the field for over four decades now.
He has gained experiential knowledge in shellfish farming. His nickname, “Clammerhead” is due to his extensive knowledge in the industry.
3. Evan Delorier
He has a degree in aquaculture science from the Carteret Community College. Evan is passionate about the ocean and spends his time fishing, diving, and surfing in the Outer Banks. At the company, he helps to run aquaculture leases. He also helps to build modern substrates and farms local oysters.
4. Slater Daniels
Slater grew up on the Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine System. His time as a kid was spent exploring the Outer Banks. He earned his Biological Oceanography degree locally. He then took supplementary courses at Roanoke Island’s UNC Coastal Studies Institute. He joined Sandbar Oyster Company after an internship with Dr. Lindquist.
5. Fairley Cessna
Fairley was introduced to commercial fishing when he was very young. He is Clammerhead’s son and inherited his father’s love for the environment. Growing up, he was homeschooled and spent lots of time along the shorelines and marshes.
There are numerous benefits of the Oyster Catcher. These include;
The catcher is easy to handle. It incurs low transportation costs and does not sink due to soft sediments. It is easy for volunteers to handle as it requires less instruction.
It fades away, to leave only the oysters behind. There have not been any negative effects to date. No plastics are used in constructing the reefs.
3. Open Reef Frameworks
Increases surface area for oysters to attach and grow. Allows a higher oyster density. Allows salt marsh plants to grow through the framework.
Resists carbonate bioeroders that harm oysters.
5. Small Modular Elements
Allows versatility to reef design. Easy for volunteers to use.
6. Elevation of Reef Frameworks
Places the reef framework in an upright position.
7. Ease of Pre-Seeding with Oysters
Helps to jump-start oyster reef communities.
8. Multiple Anchoring Points
Great positioning resilience. Keeps steady even in high-energy environments.
Estuarine shores face a lot of erosion. This is because of rising sea levels and climate change. In the 20th century, global sea levels rose by 7 inches. This destroys all the bulkheads and seawalls erected. They are the present technology used to protect natural habitats. Their disadvantage is that they sometimes fail and crumble under too much stress. They are also expensive to erect and maintain.
To help coastal communities, Sandbar Oyster Company came up with a solution. They plan to create oyster reefs and salt marsh habitats. This is by using a biodegradable hardscape. These come together to form a “living shoreline”. It will provide incredible control against erosion. It will also be a great habitat for fish and aquatic life.
The company raises seed oysters from wild oyster larvae. They use the oysters caught in the Oyster Catcher from intertidal locations. The oysters are settled and grown, then shed from the catcher.
Oysters shed from the Oyster Catcher have a traceability benefit. A small chip is embedded in their bottom valves and can remain there for years! The cement binder is dyed to make the chip more visible. Other identifying agents include cement. It brands many groups of seed oysters at one go.
The Sandbar Oyster Company is focused on restoring oyster and saltmarsh-based ecosystems. It helps to enhance coastal fisheries and protect communities in the region. The company’s effort helps to create healthy manufacturing. It also helps to create jobs for local youths by allowing them to volunteer. Sandbar improves the quality and productivity of coastal ecosystems. It helps to improve the effects caused by coastal degradation. It focuses on ways to make the region more productive. It also aims at reducing the negative effects caused by erosion.