SavingESTER Pt2: Algae Farm & Aquaculture Research

by Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

SavingESTER Pt2: Algae Farm & Aquaculture Research

£145

£2,000 target 21 days left
7% 7 supporters
This project will only be funded if at least £2,000 is pledged by 11th November 2021 at 1:32pm

Building on the success of our Saving ESTER Hatchery, we now need to create a 'live algae' farm & make our aquaculture site more accessible!

by Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

We put this together on a very auspicious day, Wednesday 13th October 2021, so Happy World Algae Day!

If you are just browsing or short of time right now, please just read the bold text OR look at the pictures showing native oyster growth stages AND PLEASE sign up to our newsletter! (all links are in blue)

NEW WEBSITE: www.falfisherycooperativecic.org

SOCIAL MEDIA: @FalFisheryCOOP @SavingESTER

YOUTUBE: Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC

Just before lockdown 1 in 2020, we launched a campaign to try and reverse the 85-95% decline of the Native Oyster (Ostrea edulis) and conduct some trials of hatching native oysters from wild brood stock. 

In the past 18 months we have ALL struggled with some set backs, or worse, but at Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC and the Saving ESTER campaign we have struggled on despite losing all volunteers and yet another director...

... now we find ourselves at a huge hurdle, do we say the trials have been successful in creating larvae but not in metamorphosis, and the aquaculture site is ready and that is essential for the research project but unviable to fishers and merchants, therefore just give up? or do we struggle on and continue with the trials knowing raising native oyster larvae is a very difficult science, but one that will provide keystone species (marine habitats), climate benefits (carbon sequestration) and a sustainable food supply (aquaculture industry)?

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Photo: Spat on shell from Aquaculture Site - CJ Ranger

It is only "improbable" that we will succeed, in growing larvae and settling native oysters, given the survival rate in the wild is 500,000/1 - BUT it's not "impossible"given that 1 does survive!!!

What went well, or wrong, with the hatchery trials?

Firstly, we selected conditioned native oysters from the beds and in our initial trial we created loads of larvae, but we didn't expect it so quickly and therefore wasn't ready with enough tanks, for the next stages of larvae settlement.

Then we focused on the aquaculture site and stored thousands of Native Oysters and several tonnes of Queen Scallops during the decimation of the markets due to COVID/Brexit. This was extremely labour intensive but raised some funds for year 1 overheads AND created an estimated 11 billion larvae therefore maybe 2.2 million baby oysters for the wild habitat, see the photos showing spat created at the aquaculture site.

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Photo: Juvenile growth in a Youth Hostel - CJ Ranger

In April 2021, with the new purpose built hatchery, we set about further hatchery trials, unfortunately due to movement restrictions we had to hold the brood stock in the hatchery before starting the process. This may have been a mistake as they were not conditioned as well... 

... Towards the end of the summer, we witnessed loads of larval shell, well lots of circles under the microscope, so we made a special visit to the University of Portsmouth's (UoP) brand new and hugely funded Native Oyster Research Hatchery...

... It was there that it was quite clear that our 'feeding' program needed seriously looking at. We had been using a concentrated algae feed, but UoP had been working on an algae farm to feed their larvae, which by the way even though they had vastly more financial support - they too were struggling with the 'metamorphosis or settling stage'...

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Photo: Sail Britain marine conservation volunteers sorting the Retirement Home Grandparents at the Aquaculture Site

So, we are now looking to raise further funds through a series of bite size targets and in order to be eligible for *extra funding we need to launch a new live campaign for the "Saving ESTER: Algae Farm & Aquaculture Research".

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Photo Courtesy of Mic at Bivalve Aquatics: Algae Culture Farming 

Initial Target: £2,000
Algae Farm - to feed the larvae and spat oysters

First Stretch Target: £4,000
Various grow out containers - another £2,000

Second Stretch Target: £12,000
Passenger Vessel Purchase & Licensing - £8,000 12 seater

Full Target: £50,000 (this is also Part 1 of the SavingESTER campaign)
Aquaculture Research Pontoon, Container & Crane - £24,000 pontoon, £3,000 container, £8,000 crane plus £3,000 haulage.

Please note: while we have been extensively researching for equipment, we have a limited time to secure an excellent second hand pontoon for £20,000 plus delivery & VAT, other values are 'budgets' as prices for equipment are changing all the time!

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Photo: 'Shelly' the aquaculture vessel on hire from Fal Oyster - CJ Ranger

At our aquaculture site we aim to store thousands of native oysters, so they can collectively create future populations.

We will have nursery upwellers for the baby spat (1m-1yr old)

We will have youth hostels for juveniles (1-3yr old)

We will have affordable housing for brood stock (4-5yr old)

We will have retirement homes for elderly (+8yr old)

In order to continue long term we are seeking to raise funds for the aquaculture research site from this campaign and many other various climate and carbon funds. ALL of the funds raised from Crowdfunder is for equipment and algae starter cultures, we do not draw a wage, but we do hope to take on core paid staff if we are successful with the larger grant applications. We have been applying to cover costs of: long term overheads, core staffing, infrastructure and stocks of juvenile baby oysters.

In 2020 we had lined up collaborating with the University of Exeter (Penryn Marine Sciences), but all field trips etc were cancelled due to the pandemic. In 2021 we are again arranging research projects with the Uni and with a local marine college for the 16-20 yr olds too!

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Photo: more sorting of Grandparents and Retirement Homes - CJ Ranger

Phase 1: April 2020

Raise £8,755 to conduct hatchery trials in a purification centre

Phase 2: August 2020

Borrowed £10,000 to secure and set up the aquaculture research site

Phase 3: April 2021

Raise an extra £9,000 from Phase 1, to create a purpose built hatchery

Phase 4: August 2021

Raise funds to secure year 2 onwards of the aquaculture research site, finance a pontoon or barge for easier deployment/recovery of shellfish and purchase a vessel to give greater access to college students and university researchers, as well as offering you the supporters a chance to see first hand, either in person or filmed during a tour with us, in this new round of fundraising

Please support if you can and share if you cannot at this time, remember "a crowd draws a crowd" - thanks for taking the time to read this and bye for now

Chris Ranger

Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC
Founding Director

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£50 or more

Hatchery & Aquaculture Tour

We have been providing tours to the hatchery for a few months now, if we are successful in reaching our first target we will have an algae farm to show you AND if we can reach our first stretch target we can secure the passenger vessel for trips up to the aquaculture site. If you make a pledge and for some reason we don't make the targets, then we will transfer your support to another reward! This is a per person tour fee.

£5 or more

A Personal Thank You

We endeavour to contact all supporters, big or small, so this pledge is just as important to us as any other! While others will get various rewards we will make sure we send you an email and a photo to say THANK YOU!

£25 or more

Adopt a Juvenile

Photo and certificate of your uniquely numbered and adopted Juvenile Native Oyster! At our aquaculture site we aim to store thousands of native oysters, so they can collectively create future populations. We will have nursery upwellers for the baby spat (1m-1yr old) We will have youth hostels for the juveniles (1-3yr old) We will have affordable housing for the brood stock (4-5yr old) We will have retirement homes for the elderly (+8yr old)

£30 or more

Adopt a Grandparent

Photo & certificate of your uniquely numbered and adopted Grandparent Native Oyster! At our aquaculture site we aim to store thousands of native oysters, so they can collectively create future populations. We will have nursery upwellers for the baby spat (1m-1yr old) We will have youth hostels for the juveniles (1-3yr old) We will have affordable housing for the brood stock (4-5yr old) We will have retirement homes for the elderly (+8yr old)

£75 or more

Build an Upweller

Photo & certificate of your uniquely named or numbered upweller, basically you are covering the cost of small mesh trays, which you can witness via a personal film message shared via our YouTube channel AND a SavingESTER beanie

£100 or more

Build a Youth Hostel

Photo & certificate of your uniquely numbered or named Youth Hostel, basically you are covering the cost of medium mesh trays, which you can witness via a personal film message shared via our YouTube channel AND a SavingESTER beanie

£125 or more

Build Affordable Housing

Photo & certificate of your uniquely numbered or named Affordable Housing, basically you are covering the cost of larger mesh trays, which you can witness via a personal film message shared via our YouTube channel AND a SavingESTER beanie

£150 or more

Build a Retirement Home

Photo & certificate of your uniquely numbered or named Retirement Home, basically you are covering the cost of individual compartment trays, which you can witness via a personal film message shared via our YouTube channel AND a SavingESTER beanie

£250 or more

Name a Population

We aim to be creating several new 'populations' of native oysters each year, partly to improve the natural stocks, partly to scientifically research growth in size/weight as well as in human years and partly to provide a sustainable heritage industry. By making this pledge we will be sure to name one of the 'populations' any name you choose, as long as it is appropriate, and will send you a photo/certificate of the records

£500 or more

Sponsor a Population

Ok, so you could name a population or even create a population, but this pledge would fund a student or researcher to create a population if it isn't practical for you to create your own. By sponsoring a student, researcher or volunteer we will guide them through every process of creating a population in both your names. You will be sent a photo and certificate when the sponsor starts the process and regularly updated with all the news!

£1,000 or more

Create a Population

Join us for every stage of creating a population of native oysters, from selecting brood stock to conditioning and liberation. Then follow the journey through larvae, metamorphosis and settling stages. Help us with the algae farm used to feed the early stages of life, watch as the new oysters grow and follow their nursery, youth hostel, affordable housing and maybe even their retirement. Of course, we will name that population after you!

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