California oyster farmer confident in industry's return

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 2, 2020 - Duration: 01:50s

California oyster farmer confident in industry's return

Hog Island Oyster Co.

In California has been forced to take drastic measures in order to survive this year's economic downturn, but co-founder Terry Sawyer is confident they can survive.

Francis Maguire reports.

California oyster farmer confident in industry's return

While most U.S. businesses stayed shut, the water tanks at Hog Island Oyster continued to buzz and bubble with activity.

The oyster farm owns 140 acres in California, enough to keep its workers busy.

Despite that, revenue at Hog Island has dropped two-thirds since the beginning of the year.

The firm furloughed 90% of its more than 300 staff members, and has employed a skeleton crew to keep on farming.

Terry Sawyer is co-founder of the company.

"Never experienced anything like this, where we're just full on operations on all levels and then having to close all the doors while we try to figure out how to deal with that kind of reaction.

The effect on the business has been fairly devastating." Their work includes motoring out to spots on the Bay where they cultivate oysters.

They then inspect and clean water mesh bags to make sure the oyster seeds are still growing.

"If we can't get out there to do this work, one, we're going to lose the, some of them will die because they've been too crowded.

They'll be misshapen.

They'll have to go back out as a return." Hog Island has been forced to adapt this year with more pick-up and go orders.

And they've increased the amount they ship their oysters nationally.

The California Aquaculture Association found most of its members were hit this year, with sales declines ranging from 50 to 95%.

Sawyer said he has never been through an experience like this, but he's confident they'll get through it.

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