Navigating the Cape Cod Region’s Blue Economy

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Gateway Marina - Growing Oysters

Gateway Marina is located at the base of Aselton Park, in the harbor’s northwest corner. In partnership with the Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) and the Town of Barnstable, Barnstable Clean Water Coalition built and installed an oyster upweller tank at Gateway Marina during the summer of 2018.



Growing Oysters for Clean Water

In partnership with the Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) and the Town of Barnstable, Barnstable Clean Water Coalition (BCWC) built and installed an oyster upweller tank at Gateway Marina in late July of 2018.

This project began with 50,000, 2mm seed oysters (spat) that were transported from Maine. The goal of this partnership for this upweller project is two-fold: to raise oysters from seed-size (2mm) to juvenile-size (25mm) in the upweller using water pumped from the harbor and to demonstrate that oysters improve water quality and clarity by filtering out nutrients and sediment.

Its second year, the upweller grew 120,000 oysters, which is more than double the initial 50,000 oysters grown in 2018!

Wellfleet Oysters credit Paul Scharff

What is an upweller tank and what how does it work?

Inside the upweller is a tank that contains ten buckets of water, filled with oysters.

The way the upweller works is that water is continuously pumped from Hyannis Harbor into the tank and through the buckets. As the water is pumped into the buckets, the oyster's role is to filter out many harmful sediments, as well as nutrients that may have infiltrated the harbor such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Once it has passed through the buckets, the newly filtrated water is pumped back into Hyannis Harbor.

It is also important to note that the oysters, too, benefit from the process of water filtration, as they are provided with a constant source of food via the phytoplankton and algae that live in the water!

Wellfleet Oysters2 credit Paul Scharff

What are the benefits of the upweller tank for the surrounding environment?

The upweller takes advantage of the numerous benefits of oysters!

• One singular oyster can filter upwards of 40 gallons of water per day.

• The filtering process, which removes harmful nutrients and sediments from the water, also provides a buffer against oceanic acidification.

• Another added bonus to this process is that over time, an oyster's shell will dissolve in the water and release calcium carbonate which helps to balance the pH of the ocean.

Eventually, once the spat have grown to be at least 25mm, they are relocated to a different site in Barnstable waters where they may continue to mature into a size that is considered harvestable (approximately 3 inches) where they will continue to improve water quality by filtering local waters.

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Fun Facts:

• Oysters get their flavor from their environment.

• Oysters change their gender.

• Humans have been consuming and cultivating oysters for thousands of years.

• Eating four oysters a day gives you a complete daily supply of copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

• Oysters have been around for approximately 15 million years.


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Life of Oysters Panel at the Big Blue Conference

Life of Oysters panel moderated by artist Steven Koppel featuring Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells, ARC Shellfish Hatchery President Rick Sawyer, and Naked Oyster Chef/Owner Florence Lowell presented at the Cape Cod Chamber and Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation's Big Blue Conference on May 3, 2023 at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Getting Here

Gateway Marina - Located next to Asleton Park and Cape Cod Maritime Museum
It is easy to park and walk in downtown Hyannis. There are plenty of metered and free public parking lots all steps away from Main Street and Hyannis Harbor.

While You're Here

Spend art-FULL days in downtown Hyannis! ArtsBarnstable invites you to explore the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District. You can walk to Hyannis Harbor, area beaches, and stroll the mile-long Hyannis Main Street with over 40 restaurants and 150 local shops. Museums, memorials, library, walking trails, smile spots and more! Get a taste of local art with a stroll through the colorful artist shanties. Stop by the HyArts Campus at the corner of Pearl and South Street and visit the Cultural Center of Cape Cod Hyannis Annex at Guyer Barn.

Hyannis is one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable. While here, ArtsBarnstable invites you to explore arts and cultural gems in all of our charming villages each with their own flavor of shops, restaurants, and cultural offerings, all with seaside charm! Discover the Town of Barnstable and all it has to offer! The seven villages include Barnstable, Centerville, Cotuit, Hyannis, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and West Barnstable.

Spanky's Clam Shack & Seaside Saloon
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