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ORP Reminds Public to Recycle their Shucked Oyster Shell
November 25, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. _ Two-time national oyster shucking champion George Hastings stars in a video released today by the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) that promotes oyster eating as well as oyster shell recycling and restoration.
The launch of the video ORP coincides with the upcoming Thanksgiving and holiday season where oysters are regularly consumed at home. ORP produced the video in time for Thanksgiving because oysters are part of the economic, cultural and dining history of the region.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley adopted the state’s Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan in 2010 and has been instrumental in guiding legislative, scientific and economic measures that benefit oyster recovery in the Bay.
“Oysters are believed to have part of the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration,” said Stephan Abel, executive director of ORP. “Today, oysters on the half shell, oyster stuffing, and scalloped oysters are mainstays of Thanksgiving tables throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.”
ORP, the leading non-profit working to restore oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, promotes both the environmental and culinary importance of the oyster. The video offers expert tips to amateur oyster shuckers on how to open an oyster and explains the importance of recycling shells to support the growing hatchery production of oysters for the Chesapeake Bay.
“We want people to enjoy eating oysters now and in the future,” said Abel. “We also want them to recycle their shells because that is a vital part of efforts to raise oysters so that ORP can build a strong natural oyster population and a healthy bay.”
This year, ORP has worked to make it easier for individuals to take an active role in shell recycling. ORP collects shell from 25 public recycling facilities in Maryland, more than three times as many as a year ago. The ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance this year opened drop-off sites in Dorchester and Wicomico Counties and recently partnered with the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, Maryland, which becomes the first Howard County public recycling facility. Additional drop-off locations are planned as ORP is working to obtain enough shell to meet the needs of the growing oyster hatchery program in Maryland. The new Maryland law that allows individuals and businesses to obtain state tax credit for recycling shell is also expected to increase the need for drop-off facilities and boost ORP’s recycling success.
Historically, baby oysters started life attached to the abundant shells on the bay’s natural reefs. But during the past centuries, reefs were depleted by silt and sediment, disease and historical over-harvesting and now there is not enough shell for new oysters to breed in the wild. Recycled shells are a vital component to restoring a healthy oyster population in the bay. The Shell Recycling Alliance, established in 2009, includes more than 200 restaurants, caterers and other businesses that now recycle their shell. Grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Perdue Farms are helping to support the operating costs of the shell recycling program.
ORP Mission: The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that plans, promotes and implements science-based and sustainable shellfish restoration, aquaculture and wild fishery activities to protect our environment, support our economy and preserve our cultural heritage.