Locally owned Spatking Oysters is the first company to sustainably cultivate oysters in Georgia. Spat are young oysters. The owner of Spatking Oysters, Justin Manley, was responsible for counting thousands of oyster spat as part of his graduate research project and was dubbed the “Spat King”, the name stuck. Justin was born in Detroit and first moved to Savannah in 2003 after graduating with honors from Central Michigan University with a B.Sc. in Biology. He completed his M.Sc. in marine science from Savannah State University in 2007 while coordinating shellfish aquaculture research for the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service Shellfish Research Laboratory on Skidaway Island, Georgia. The primary focus of the research he conducted while in Georgia was to develop successful techniques for the commercial cultivation of oysters and other bivalve species as well as oyster habitat restoration. Justin temporarily left Georgia to participate in shellfish hatchery science and oyster genetics research at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. He was also the senior biologist at Aquacage Fisheries Ltd. in Ontario Canada (the second largest producer of rainbow trout in Ontario) before returning to Georgia in 2011. Some of Justin’s research has been published in the Journal of Shellfish Research and the Occasional Papers of the University of Georgia. Justin’s primary reason for returning to Georgia was his love of coastal Georgia, Savannah in particular, and Georgia oysters. After acquiring a shellfish lease in St. Catherines Sound (near Sunbury, Georgia), Spatking Oysters was formed. Justin helped start the Georgia Shellfish Growers Association in 2011 and is currently a member of the National Shellfisheries Association, Interstate Shellfish Shippers Conference, and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association.
Spatking Oysters is HACCP and Georgia Department of Agriculture certified.