Oysters are the main species of shellfish raised by SPAT Program members.

Image by Kimberly Manzo


SPAT Program


SPAT operates from the SCMELC (Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center) at 3690 Cedar Beach Road, Southold, NY 11971. Our hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings between 8 a.m. - noon. SPAT does not operate on other days/times. Our facility is closed on the weekends and holidays. SPAT starts up in late spring and runs until about Thanksgiving time, when you can winterize your oysters.

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.

If you would like to make a donation to SPAT: Print Form or use our Online Form. If you use the online form, use the drop-down to choose 'Marine' and type in 'SPAT' as your preference. 



Kim Tetrault
Community Aquaculture Specialist

Last updated April 3, 2024