Effects of stocking density and immersion time on the performance of oysters in intertidal off-bottom culture

Jacob J. Capelle*, Eva Hartog, Jorik Creemers, Jouke Heringa, Pauline Kamermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Intertidal culture in meshed bags on trestles is worldwide the most established culture method for oysters. Culturists can affect oyster performance by adjusting stocking density and immersion time, and it can be expected that these factors are not independent. The combined effect of stocking density and immersion time on survival, growth and condition of oysters was investigated on a culture site, where oysters are usually stocked at 8 kg bag−1. Half-grown
oysters were stocked in three biomass densities: 4, 8 and 12 kg bag−1, nested within three immersion times (87%, 76% and 73% of tidal cycle). Chlorophyll-a concentration peaked in summer (~ 3–10 μg l−1) and was low in autumn (~ 1 μg l−1), and high chlorophyll-a levels coincided with oyster spawning period. Survival was not affected by density or immersion time. Shell growth per oyster and biomass production per bag were density dependent—higher at 4 than at 12 kg bag−1—but neither were different from 8 kg bag−1. Growth rates were
negativity related with immersion over the spawning period but showed a (non-significant) positive trend over other periods. At harvest, condition per oyster decreased with stocking density and increased with immersion. There was no interaction between density and immersion. Treatments had a more pronounced effect on meat content than on biomass production. Hence, oysters might be kept at higher stocking densities to increase biomass production during most of the growth cycle but restocked in lower densities, with longer immersion times
prior to harvest to maximize meat content at harvest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249–264
Number of pages16
JournalAquaculture International
Early online date5 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Magallana gigas
  • Crassostrea gigas
  • Split-plot design
  • Density dependent
  • Trestle culture
  • Shellfish culture


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