A basic supply for any oyster grower is the oyster hook. Known as a ‘crochet’ in France or an ‘S-hook’ in the States, the oyster hook is used with bands to attach or to close oyster bags securely and easily.
Triskell Seafood Stainless Steel Hooks
There is a wide selection of hooks on the market today allowing the grower to tailor his kit very exactly to the conditions experienced on site. In this article we’re going to run through the selection that we stock, giving pros and cons for each to afford you an overview of what is available. All options come in boxes of 1000.
These hooks are manufactured here in Ireland and are part of a selection we have designed in-house. At 2.6MM these are our narrowest hooks making them suitable for any mesh size and meaning you don’t need to have a selection of hook sizes in your kit as you size up your bags.
In the past growers in France have experienced problems with the quality of the stainless steel used to make hooks, the issue was around electrolysis occurring when the stainless steel of the hooks touched the steel of the trestles. This resulted in a lot of growers complaining of rusted hooks becoming quickly unusable. The material used for our stainless-steel hooks is a massive improvement on that and the hooks themselves have been extensively tested to the point that we can confidently say that the hooks you buy today will still be good to use in 10 years’ time!
Triskell Seafood White Hooks
Like the stainless-steel hooks these hooks have been designed by us and are manufactured in a factory just down the coast. They are 2.7MM wide and we recommend them for use on 4MM and 6MM mesh. At half the price of our stainless-steel hooks they are the most competitively priced hook we stock making them very attractive if economic factors are high on your agenda. Their bright white colour also makes them very easy to spot on the bags. This can be invaluable when working in low lighting on shore.
The white hook has an approximate lifespan of 4 years, but it can be longer or shorter depending on usage and conditions on site. Potentially would need replacing long before a stainless-steel hook for example. The plastic coating used is a PET polymer (polyethylene terephthalate) which have very good UV resistance. In the instance of our red hooks the PET will hold its colour well. However, over time and with exposure to the elements, the plastic outer coating may start to strip at the ends exposing the metal of the hook itself which is then prone to a little rusting.
The environmental impact of this is something that is now being highlighted by growers coming to us for replacements. They are seeing campaigns against the quantities of plastic being dumped in the sea, and the impact that even microplastics have on the marine ecosystem, and this could be a long-term concern around the use of plastic-coated hooks.
Triskell Seafood Red Hooks
Rounding off the trio of hooks that we manufacture in Ireland is the red hook. Another plastic-over-metal hook, this one is 3.5MM wide and is recommended for the larger 9MM to 14MM mesh bags.
The larger size means it is marginally more expensive than the white hooks but otherwise has similar pros and cons. The red colour makes it very visible on the bags and if they become detached the bright colour is easy to spot on the sea floor.
YAD 2.7MM Hooks
Well-known French brand YAD MARINE manufacture these 2.7MM plastic-over-metal hooks. The retail price for these is a little higher than our own Irish-manufactured hooks due to additional import fees. However many growers feel it is worth the extra cost because they have been using them successfully for many years.
They have the same general pros and cons as the equivalent Triskell White or Red Hooks above but are available in a choice of green or orange colours in the same size. This can be useful if the growers wish to identify their bags by colour.
YAD 3.5MM Hooks
Also manufactured in, and imported from, France, these are the broader 3.5MM hooks from YAD Marine. They are for use in the larger 9-14MM mesh bags. Like the equivalent 2.7MM product they are a little costlier than the equivalent Irish brand. They are available in both Orange and Green.
Breizh Hook V1 Plastic Hooks
The Breizh Hook brand are manufactured in France where they are reasonably popular. They don’t have the same market share yet in Ireland. Made entirely of tough UV-treated plastic there aren’t the same concerns with rust when using these hooks and they do have a reasonably long lifespan as a result. Against that there is the strong argument against introducing more plastics into the sea which will be persuasive for some.
The Breizh Hook V1 features a straight side and deep pointed hook unlike the ‘S’ shapes of the Triskell and YAD design. They are suitable for all mesh sizes and are used to close bags in conjunction with rubber bands.
Colours for the hooks vary with batches.
Breizh Hook V2 Plastic Hooks
Like the Breizh Hook V1, the V2 is wholly made of tough UV-treated plastic. The hook itself is shaped like a lower case ‘b’ with a deep pointed hook. These hooks are suitable for all mesh size and recommended for attaching bags to trestles in conjunction with rubber bands. Again colours for the hooks vary with batches.
Breizh Hook V3 Plastic Hooks
The third hook from this brand is a totally different shape, it is a flat full circle. This means that if the band has been securely attached it cannot simply pop out of the open hook.
As the circle part of the hook lies flat to the bag there is an argument that it is less likely to be possible to knock it out of the mesh once it has been attached.
Breizh Hook V4 Plastic Hooks
Newly introduced to the market in April 2019, the V4 hook is made of solid plastic in a cheerful bright colour. The hook end has been sharpened and deepened to allow it to work with any mesh size from 4MM up. The manufacturers have added a new improved ‘non-return buckle’ which they say will prevent bands from slipping off the bottom loop as can happen with other designs. They are intended primarily for attaching bags to trestles.
So, there are several points to consider when choosing which hook is right for you:
- The mesh size on your oyster bag
- Your budget – stainless-steel are more expensive initially but have a much longer lifespan
- Material – stainless-steel/all plastic/mix of metal & plastic
- Colours (to identify your stock)
- Conditions on site
- Environmental considerations
Finally, while the hooks are developed for use with oyster farming in mind, we have also sold them to other types of fishermen in the past. For instance, they can also be used in place of creel hooks for building or repairing lobster or shrimp pots, crab pots or fishing pots.