Cages are submerged to protect oysters during winter or hurricane weather.
The OysterGro® is specially designed for shallow waters inside of bays. The floats keep the oysters off the seabed, thus substantially reducing winter mortality rates.
Wintering amounts to a process of “cap collection”- not the back-breaking, time consuming work of retrieving floats and lines, and then transporting them to shore for winter storage. Note that this same process is used in hurricane conditions.
Therefore, wintering is only a matter of cap removal, as seen above, compared to arduous equipment removal.
Oysters lower their metabolism when the water temperature drops below 4°c (39.2°F). In the fall, before the ice begins to form, it is time to submerge the cages to the seabed. Click here to view video.
A cap wrench, as seen above, can be used to remove caps. The OysterGro® is then flipped over with the float side down and the oysters are spread to allow even coverage.
Once the caps are removed and oysters spread, the oyster cage T-bar (tong) as seen below, is used to guide the oyster cage to the bottom making sure that your cage is resting on the floats, as seen in figure IV, and not the cage. This will insure that the oysters are not sitting in the mud, which will help keep your mortality rates much lower.
Note: OysterGro® cages should be sunk when tide is at its lowest to ensure the cages stay as they are sunk.