Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/22

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The seed oysters having been removed from the tile or wood "collectors," they are taken to the low-water line and arranged in flat wire-gauze rearing cases, which "lift from the bottom and prevent the young from being stifled by the shiftings of mud; it also renders the growth regular and rapid, and, above all, it protects the oysters from their enemies," the starfishes, drills, etc. "During the first few months rapid growth renders it necessary to pick out each fortnight and transfer to other cases the largest oysters." This is generally done by women, who at the same time take out the dead shells. And so the process goes on

PSM V44 D022 Wooden trays in position on macadamized bottom.jpg
Fig. 9.—Wooden Trays in Position on Macadamized Bottom.

until the oyster is sufficiently grown for table use, usually two to three years.

Sometimes the river banks or beaches selected for the oyster-developing cages are soft and muddy; and here again the French culturist teaches us a lesson. He is not deterred by the unsuitable bottom; he at once macadamizes it with sand and gravel, giving a crust that is clean and serves admirably for cultural purposes.

Another method for collecting spat is in enclosed ponds provided with spawning oysters. Flood gates prevent the escape of the water, which is kept at "an average depth of about four feet." The same style of "collectors" that are used in the open sea "parks" (as each individual's holding is called) are used in these