OurFoodNews talked to the waiter at Clydes, a jolly fellow, who said the restaurant grinds up all their oyster shells and sends them back to the Chesapeake Bay to be dumped in the water.
Why would they do that? Because, our server explained, baby oysters must attach to oyster shells in order to grow. It works! Replenishing the shells has created a vast improvement in oyster production.
Oyster shells are a limited natural resource that provides crucial natural habitat for new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. The shells are used exclusively by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery for its oyster setting process.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership, in partnership with local Baltimore, Washington DC, and Annapolis based catering companies and restaurants, has launched the Shell Recycling Alliance to recycle used oyster shell. The SRA focuses on collecting used oyster and clam shells from restaurants, caterers and seafood wholesalers throughout Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Delaware. The collected shell is delivered to the hatchery and used at setting material for spat raised to replenish the bay oyster population.
Collecting and reusing these shells is needed not only for their ecologic benefits in being able to enhance the wild population with hatchery produced stock, but also to raise awareness with the public as to their value as well as the value of oysters to the Bay’s overall recovery. Learn more about the program.
Now that’s what we call recycling!