The Cotuit Oyster Company, Inc. leases 5 shellfish aquaculture grants in Cotuit Bay totaling 33.83 acres. Each site is used for different phases of the grow out process. Predation, bottom type, and depth all play critical roles in where each stage of the oysters life cycle takes place. Aquaculture equipment and techniques to grow seed oysters have improved over the years. On some sites, we use equipment that floats on the surface or rests 18 inches off the bottom.
Aquaculture lease holders in the town of Barnstable are required to mark the corners of a shellfish grant with yellow buoys that have the individuals state propagation permit number clearly visible on the side. We have been using these markers for the past 10 years in accordance with the Best Management practices for shellfish aquaculture developed by SEMAC, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. We follow the BMP’s and keep all of our gear in organized rows to reduce the possibility of boat strikes. Driving or sailing a boat over a shellfish grant at low tide is not advisable and will typically result in damage to gear, or your boat. Following the channel is the safest way to navigate in Cotuit Bay.