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Oyster Restoration and shell recycling efforts are spreading across the nation.
Oysters have become a renaissance species in the United States. They play a vital role in habitat restoration with the growing understanding that oyster reefs purify the waters in which they live and create preferred habitats for commercial and recreational fish species. Oyster reefs help stabilize shorelines and mitigate some of the impacts of sea level rise while acting as a carbon sink in part by improving the water’s capacity to absorb excess atmospheric CO2.
Aquaculture developments and enhanced wild fishery management techniques are putting oysters on more plates and strengthening consumer interest in creating and supporting a sustainable seafood industry. The public is increasingly invested in oysters, as programs to raise oysters for restoration and thriving shell recycling programs connect the public, scientific and economic communities.
A vital component for restoration is shell that is used for hatchery produced oysters and to create a hard bottom, or substrate, to plant the oysters on. Many local communities are starting or operating recycling programs that collect shell from restaurants and the public and returning that shell to their local waterways to create new oyster reefs
Click on the highlighted states to learn more about oyster restoration and shell recycling programs in each state and how you can get involved.