Starbird Mariculture is made up of a team of dedicated and knowleadgeable individuals, with diverse skills. At various locations in Tomales Bay's plankton rich waters, we work together to farm oysters and oyster seed, with as much care as possible.
The seed nursery is located in Humboldt Bay, ideally suited due to its unusually high algae content, on a flupsy (an acronym for "floating upweller system"). The flupsy features a three-foot paddlewheel, powered by a two-horsepower electric motor, that moves fresh sea water in a vertical plane through seed beds that are suspended underwater. This provides the growing oysters with constant water flow and nutrients in the form of algae.
Once the seeds reach a certain size, they are sold to other oyster farms or carefully transferred to deep water locations in Tomales Bay that are ideally suited for suspension farming and maximum water flow. There the seeds are put into trays supported by frames that are suspended and staggered underwater from a barge.
For the duration of their cultivation the oyster trays, often weighing up to 500 pounds and containing thousands of oysters, are lifted with a crane then sent through specially designed tumblers that wash and sort them by size and also serve to strenghthen their shells.
The unique suspension system designed and utilized by Starbird Mariculture, combined with Tomales Bay's fast moving rough waters, promotes oyster health and growth to produce a unique, specialty product.
Oyster Farming Is Good for Tomales Bay
It is a lesser known fact that Tomales Bay's oyster farms help keep the bay waters clean. An adult oyster filters an incredible amount of water every day, approximately fifty gallons per day. In fact, oysters have been used to help filter and clean some of New York's dirtiest bays. With about half a million adult or near-adult oysters at any given time, Starbird Mariculture's oysters alone filter approximately twelve million gallons of Tomales Bay waters per day.