SPAT Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training logo
oyster, spat



Juvenile Oysters

taste and tour oysters clams

Oysters - Clams


SPAT Workshops (SCMELC - Southold)

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, April 19, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, May 17, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, June 21, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, July 19, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, September 20, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, October 18, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday, November 15, 2019, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training

Join SPAT! Membership information here

"Spat" is the word for the tiniest form of shellfish that has settled onto the place where it will live out its life. The SPAT program was created to encourage community members to become stewards of their environment and to restore shellfish to the bays.

To augment the limited staff of the Cornell Marine Program, volunteers help produce shellfish to seed the bays. SPAT volunteers and members grow minuscule shellfish (oyster, Crassostrea virginica) -  in containment, away from predators, until they reach an adult size when they release their spawn into local creeks and bays and promote wild settlement.

Volunteers and members are offered monthly workshops and provided with shellfish seed and necessary tools and supplies to grow their shellfish gardens either at their own waterfront or in the SPAT community garden. In exchange for a minimal fee, all permits are secured and members may keep their oysters for their personal use. No oysters can be sold.

Our volunteers maintain their own hatchery (the"SPAT Shack"), and nursery. Over 1,000 people have taken part in this program and it continues to grow each year.

Monthly Workshops are free, each month a different topic, and open to all! Schedule here.

January: Algae Culture Techniques

This introduction to the lecture series addresses everything you know about algae but were afraid to ask. Learn about the good the bad and the ugly algae species and find out why this critical base of the marine food chain affects shellfish from birth to death.

Learn about the construction and operation of the new SEACAPS continuous algae culture system which is being installed in order to ramp up the production of scallops and other shellfish stocks for the season. Few facilities in the country have this system and CCE will be one of the first in the Northeast to operate one.

February: Broodstock Conditioning & Spawning

Ever wonder how shellfish are produced? Find out how bivalve mollusks get ready for spawning and what triggers them. Learn the tricks of the trade, including musical selection, lighting, heating and phenomenal suspensions.

Find out what is necessary to condition and spawn scallops out of season in order to produce early seed in quantity.

March: Larval Culture of Bivalve Species

All shellfish have a larval cycle before becoming Spat. This lecture discusses the various routines that larvae perform during the earliest part of their lives. Join the microscopic world of trochophores and veligers as they dare to go the distance to becoming seed.

Learn advanced handling techniques used to maximize survival, growth and health of shellfish larvae.

April: Post - Set Seed Culture

Just like the caterpillar that changes into the butterfly, shellfish larvae undergo metamorphosis and change into their smallest juvenile Spat. This is usually the last place they will live, give or take a few meters, for the rest of their lives, unless they are cultured. Our shellfish are just getting ready to move all over.

May: Land-Based Upweller Nursery Operations

Shellfish nurseries cross between being technically advanced and extremely simple. Learn about Upwellers and Downwellers, Flupsies and Seston Flux.

The phase in aquaculture where nature and humans come together to maximize shellfish seed culture.

June: Configuring and Maintaining the Garden

So now that you can see your shellfish seed, what are you going to do with it? This is where all the fun begins with designing and keeping up with your own personal shellfish garden. Join the SPATsters in collecting information about how best to grow shellfish to adult size.

July: Oyster History of New York

Here is a look at the fascinating history of the oysters and the industry that sprung up in New York, specifically around the East End of Long Island. Many fine photos depict the extent of the oyster community around the turn of the 1900's and how the new industry is arising in the present.


(no lecture this month)

September: The Oysters of France and Canada

The French love their oysters. Here is a look at the oyster growing techniques of the Brittany Coast and the French Mediterranean, as well as the oysters of the Canadian Maritime Provence of New Brunswick.

October: Over-Winterizing the Garden

Now that summer is over and either the water will be getting too cold to work in or you are leaving for places where the sun always shines, it is about time to put everything away for the next 5-6 months. In order to do this, special care should be taken to make sure you don't lose everything that you worked so hard on. This is a pretty important lecture, so please make a point of making this session.

November: Yearly Review, Final Exam

Are we really going to have to take a final exam? Actually, it is the best way to review all of the lectures that were given during the year. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and 1 3/4 hours to correct. See how much you managed to retain in the field of shellfish aquaculture. And don't worry, I try to make it fun.


Free - All are WELCOME to attend!

Learn More


Darci Bielenda
Marine Program Sr. Administrative Assistant SCMELC
631-852-8660 x 21


Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center
3690 Cedar Beach Road
Southold, New York 11971

Last updated April 16, 2019