Oysters and Data LoggersScott and Ginger Grout run Gold Coast Oysters, LLC in Washington State. Launched in 2000, they now maintain and harvest over 100 tidelands for both Pacific Oysters and Manila Clams. What do oysters have to do with data loggers? Here's a great story where technology has made a difference in the age old fisheries business.
Oysters grow on the surface, but clams sit a few inches below the sand. Scott and Ginger's work begins when the tide goes out. The tidal cycle lasts about six hours. It can take five years for an oyster to grow to a marketable size, so any one beach might only be worked once every three years.
The time it takes from beach to wholesaler, combined with the temperature, are critical to avoiding outbreaks of bacteria vibrio which can make humans sick. While harvesting occurs all year, when the temperature rises in the summer months, the team is frequently forced to limit its harvesting. "We have to make sure that their environment remains cool and constant," Ginger explained. "We have strict time and temperature control rules for any journey that the shellfish take."
Enter Lascar Electronics and their temperature data logger products. These USB port data loggers are an easy way for the Grouts to track each shipment. They've programmed the loggers to sample the temperature hourly and an alarm to go off if the temperature should spike during transportation.
"We throw [the data logger] into the boxes with the product for their journey," saif Scott Grout "If an alarm is reached during transportation, then our wholesalers can tell because the unit has a flashing red light." The data can also be downloaded and graphed for the duration of the journey as further evidence that the product's temperature has been properly maintained.
The Grouts haven't stopped there. They've noticed a rise in beach temperatures and have used data loggers to measure air and water temperatures out on the beds.
The Grouts see temperature monitoring as an extra quality step that they hope other shellfish farmers will also start using. The investment in a data logger is small relative to the size of the risk that they prevent.
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