Oysters 101: Environmental Benefits

Oysters are important in water filtration. A single mature oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.

It’s estimated that a harvested mature wild oyster removes 0.5 grams of nitrogen and 0.16 grams of phosphorus from sea water.  Nutrient removal is slightly less for cultivated oysters. 

In addition to nutrients, they consume phytoplankton (algae and other microscopic organisms) which improves sunlight penetration thereby increasing photosynthesis. Increased photosynthesis helps to reduce CO2, reducing ocean acidification. Increased photosynthesis also promotes growth of eel grass beds and other beneficial aquatic plants, an important habitat for numerous ocean species.   

Much like coral reefs in tropical climates, oyster reefs act as aquatic nurseries, sheltering and supporting a myriad of temperate climate marine life.

Oyster aquaculture is a sustainable fishery which improves rather than harms the nearshore coastal environment.

Recycled shells placed in suitable locations helps to establish a habitat for wild oysters to build new reefs and helps to restore wild populations. Please recycle your shells today to assist in this effort.

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