Oyster farming is an aquaculture (or mariculture) practice in which oysters are bred and raised mainly for their pearls, shells and inner organ tissue, which is eaten. Oyster farming was practiced by the ancient Romans as early as the 1st century BC on the Italian peninsula and later in Britain for export to Rome.
Oysters harvested and transported directly to the processing plants should be reasonably free of sediments and other foreign substances. They can be cleaned with the use of an octagonal-cylindrical continuous rotary washing machine. The washing container is made of a rotating perforated cylinder of heavy construction with both ends open. The cylinder generally measures 4.4 m in length and 1.5 m in diameter but the dimension differs from plant to plant. A perforated water pipe is built into the cylinder from which water jets outward. The position of the cylinder is fixed at an angle of 7 degrees slope to allow oysters to slide down. A 3 HP power motor is needed to rotate the cylinder.
The oyster has a high economic value and is widely accepted both locally and on the international markets. The flesh of the oyster could be eaten raw, or after it is boiled or smoked. The mangrove oyster is usually harvested from the wild though it is cultivable. The harvesting is done mainly by the women-folk in Southern Nigeria.
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