Farming Shellfish for the Greater Good

When someone hears the word farming, that someone might picture a person dressed in overalls, wielding a pitchfork, and driving a tractor around big open land. What most people don’t think of is aquaculture farming that happens in the water. Along with those delicious berries and greens you find in the grocery store, much of the shellfish such as oysters and clams are also farmed.

There are not many environmental benefits for land farming except to buy food for dinner. Shellfish farming does more than give us some dinner. Shellfish farming, also known as shellfish aquaculture, can help clean the water that humans throw their waste into. Many humans love a good oyster every now and again but we are not the only living organism that enjoys oysters. By farming shellfish, the farming creates a food source for other marine animals such as birds. Some objects that are beneficial to this world are made through a process that actually hurts this world with pollution. The gear that is needed to farm shellfish is also beneficial to the surrounding environment. The gear creates a shelter for other marine organisms such as fish to take refuge from predators.


These shellfish can be farmed in a few different ways. One way is to set up long lines that hang down from the surface of the water and shellfish such as oysters or clams grow on the suspended lines. These can be set up in a controlled area or in the open water. Another method of farming shellfish is to have an environment where the salinity and temperature is controlled and constant and to drop bags or cages and have the shellfish grow in the cages under water. The bag or cage would be brought to the surface to harvest the mature shellfish. Shellfish aquacultures that are set up in the ocean with changing environmental conditions such as temperature and salinity is beneficial to the quality of the water that is polluted every day.

Humans throw a lot of waste into the water. Whether it is driving a power boat around or factories that dump their nitrogen filled waste in the water, this waste is harmful to the surrounding water. A group of shellfish called bivalves, which are a compressed body surrounded by a shell such as an oyster, can filter the water to remove some of the excess nitrogen that humans carelessly dump into the big blue ocean. Bivalves can filter an amazing amount of water in a day. In some species, individuals can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. Most shellfish farms have thousands of bivalves growing, so if you add it all up, that is a large amount of water that is getting filtered in just one day. The excess nitrogen dumped into the water can actually be beneficial to the bivalves because they use it for their tissue growth.

Oysters served in a buttery, garlic sauce is a favorite dish to many seafood lovers. We are not the only ones that enjoy good seafood. Some species of birds love a good shellfish meal. The shellfish may not be soaked in a fattening, tasty sauce, but some birds still love them as much as humans do. There are species of sea ducks in France that came back to an area that people thought they left for good, because of shellfish farms. These farms created an abundant food source for these birds. Sea ducks in France are not the only bird that likes to eat shellfish. There are many marine birds in the US that will crack open a bivalve and eat the delicious meat inside. Shellfish farming is growing in many areas around the world and the continuous growth will create food for many different organisms.

The process to make many of the material objects in this world is harmful to the environment including the water. There are even some farms that create food for people to eat but also spray pesticides everywhere that does harm other animals. When it comes to shellfish farming, the gear and equipment that the shellfish farms rely on are not harmful to the environment. The gear is beneficial in many ways. The equipment can create a shelter for little species of fish to hide if they are getting chased by a predator. The gear can also create a place for scared fish to eat in peace and not have to worry about another fish sneaking up behind them and stealing their food or using that scared fish as food.

Next time someone says the word farming, remember that a shirtless person in overalls planting seeds is not the only farmer in this world. Shellfish are becoming a big product of farming and is very beneficial to the human’s race and to other organisms that live in or around the water.