Operation Hut


Feb 3, 2012
Can someone advise me why we may need an small platform hut as part of a pearl operation? What kind of stilts or design is most appropriate for saltwater lagoon, we plan to build a small cleaning/grating hut on a coral area in our lagoon....just wanted some pointers from experts out there.
It helps to have some operational area that is directly over water so you can store the oysters in the water and haul them up and return them, as opposed to carrying them to shore. Josh Humbert of Kamoka can probably give you a better idea. :)
I farm in the north, where a "hut" is essential.

There are numerous reasons why. You'll need sufficent room to load, suspend or handle shell stock and hold tremendous amounts of treated water. These can make small boats unstable, especially in bad weather. Sunlight can dry out tissues and rainwater can poison them. You'll also need storage for equipment, tools, chemicals, cleaners, power generators and pumps. Likewise an area for the crew to prepare and eat food, clean up and go when nature calls, if you know what I mean. Containment and treatment of discharges are paramount as to not pollute or otherwise needlessly propagate invasive or detrimental species.

Most farms build floats from what is locally available for the best price. Some countries use bamboo, concrete, wood or steel. I prefer galvanized steel over armoured foam billets for it's strength, economy and portability. Much of what I have is salvaged from other marine operations, namely fish farms.

Pilings are extremely expensive. Somewhere around $3000 US for each (more if the tug and barge has to travel to remote areas), so it won't be long before you racked up alot of money. They are also permanent, so if you decide to relocate for whatever reason, you'll be abandoning an expensive structure. The taxes and maintenance on permanent structures are also very high.
Well put Dave,

I'll get Bron to put up on the Pearl Farming thread an article about us in the latest edition of Austasia Aquaculture. It's got some pic's of our operations shed that I proudly designed and built with Bron and Heather Hawke (a visiting marine scientist) a while back.
When you see it namdrikalele, you will see that it does not take heaps of cash to build an op's room that floats.
Actually, go to Paspaleys and look at their floating op's room then look at ours. Then you can see where Bron and I sit in the South Sea Pearl world.
However you sit compared to Paspaley, many of us would rather be in your shoes- You and Bron together, wresting a living from the sea..... hard work and sunshine with the most wonderful crop in the world as the reward! Whew!!
My lab under tow. It's built from 4 articulated octagonal floats, two that support the structure and two which provide deck space or carry loads, including a 17 foot boat. The octagons can be detached to fit bridges in between, creating a pond where I can hang upwards of 15 tonnes of inventory. I'm able to keep adding more and more pieces, creating a raft, then take the lab elsewhere when needed. For those chilly days and nights, it has a cast iron stove, firewood supply, kitchen, table, bunks, satellite TV and stereo and radios.

Water barrels, industrial stainless steel sinks, generator/pumps/fuel and other tools are heavy and need protection from the elements. Salt air or splashes destroy a lot of things, rapidly, so it's important to be able to clean up the gear and stow it safely.


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Dave, can you use the fish to nibble clean your shells, like Josh does?

We have pile perch (Rhacochilus vacca) which form resident schools naturally. In year one, the perch will be tiny, but they grow rapidly and will remain as long as the raft exists.

They don't eat everything though, so I'll often introduce other species. Nudibranchs eat tunicates and anemones, so I'll usually introduce enough to propagate themselves. (we have more than 50 species here). Ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus) can wreck havoc on suspended mussels, but I relocate them from the strings as juveniles then plant them on the main floats to help keep them clean. After a few years, the hard shelled creatures like rock oysters, barnacles and calcareous worms and yes.... mussels take a better hold.
Thanks Dave, I love the detail of your reply!
Gidday all

Bron is attempting to upload a link to Austasia Aquaculture magazine that ran an article on us. If you take the time to read you'll gain a bit of info about us, but also you'll see our magnificent architecturally (not) designed, floating operations shed that Rusty is very proud of. Believe it or not, beautiful pearls begin their life here.

There is a button in the center that says "click to read". Then you can drag the button on the upper left slider to make it bigger still.

I think the float is brilliant! :)
Hi Bron and Rusty

the shed is very cool !

love that gold pearl nestled amongst the others too