Save Oyster Shell

Save Oyster Shell logoThe Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) needs your help–and your oyster shells–to restore native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Donate your empty shells to CBF so we can recycle them into more oyster reefs and repopulate the Bay with more oysters. Oyster shells are literally the foundation of our reef restoration efforts!

We use thousands of bushels of recycled oyster shells each year. Once the recycled shells are cleaned and cured, CBF places them in huge water tanks containing millions of microscopic oyster larvae, which then attach to the shells. On average, each recycled shell can become home to dozens of those baby oysters, called spat. CBF provides the the spat-on-shell to its oyster gardeners and plants them in rivers and the Bay to grow and expand oyster reefs.

Oyster shells are becoming increasingly scarce.  Through the Save Oyster Shell recycling program, shells that would typically be thrown away are saved and used in a variety of oyster restoration projects.

Video  WBAL-TV 11 08/13/12 Oyster Recycling Bins to Help Replenish Population

Spat on an oyster shellYour shells are used as homes for baby oysters (spat) like the shell in the photo. We place your recycled shells in tanks of water with millions of microscopic oyster larvae swimming and attaching to the shells. After a few days the spat-on-shell will be used to build a new oyster bar.

For information on local shell recycling locations please visit our Maryland Save Oyster Shell and Virginia Save Oyster Shell web pages.

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