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GROWOUT

   Bay bottom leases are rented from the State of Florida.  The lease term is for 10 years and may be renewed and/or transferred.  There is a requirement that 100,000 clam seed per acre be planted annually. 

            Bag culture is used to grow clams.  A polyester mesh bag is staked to the bottom with PVC pipe.  Five to ten bags are “belted” together and planted in rows.  The sediments from tides and currents serve as the bottom for the clams’ environment.  

Clam bag stack PVC Stakes in basket
STACK OF CLAM BAGS
PVC STAKES IN BASKET

               There are two stages to growout.  In the first, seed of about ¼ inch are placed in a 3-4 mm mesh bag measuring about 4 feet square (about 10,000 per bag).  It takes between three and six months for the clams grow to about ½ inch.  Then the clams are transferred to the 9-12 mm mesh bags (800-1,200 per bag).  Within 10 to 18 months, the clams reach 1 inch in size.

            Clams bags are recycled over and over again, frequently needing repair.  Several methods are used to clean debris off the bag.  You probably noticed bags laying on road edges and driveways to allow vehicle wheels to crunch off the shells.  Other methods included pressure washing and using a roller. 

Clam bag to be washed Rolling clam bags
CLAM BAG WAITING TO BE WASHED
ROLLING OVER BAGS TO CLEAN THEM