Oyster shell is a limited natural resource that provides crucial natural habitat for new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and is used by the University of Maryland Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery for its oyster setting process. The region’s shell supply, as it stands now, will deplete within just a few years – jeopardizing Bay restoration and aquaculture efforts.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership officially launched the region’s first ”Shell Recycling Alliance” in March of 2010 after local oyster shuckers came to ORP with concern from their observation that thousands of oyster shells were simply being tossed in the trash at events where they shucked oysters.
ORP, or one of our partners, collects used oyster and clam shells weekly from the hundreds of restaurants, caterers and seafood distributors throughout Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Delaware for ultimate delivery to the Horn Point Lab Hatchery. This recycled shell is used as setting material for new spat (baby oysters) to be planted back into the Bay and tributaries. Each recycled shell can become home to 10 new oysters in the bay. Since inception, the SRA has recycled more than 30,000 bushels of shell or the equivalent to 1,200 tons.
How can you help? View the video below to learn the story of the Shell Recycling Alliance, sign up for one of our e-newsletters, recycle your own shell and give your business to our SRA members on the map below. Learn how eating oysters can help restore our bay. . .
Receive the SRA e-newsletter by submitting your email address on the right side of the page.
The map below points out the restaurants, caterers and seafood distributors who are members of the Shell Recycling Alliance. Please visit these Bay-minded establishments to show your appreciation for their work in restoring oysters. If you are a business who wishes to join the SRA, please call ORP at 410-990-4970 or email SRA@oysterrecovery.org.
Kids Contribute to the SRA: “The Pearl Girls” Story
After assisting ORP on a shell recycling collection trip to celebrate Earth Day in 2012, the self-labeled “Pearl Girls” ─ a group of five creative 6th graders ─ have been busy helping ORP to expand our Shell Recycling Alliance membership. Learn more about their impressive community service here.