For those of us in coastal Louisiana, there is only one oyster of real importance. That oyster, is the Atlantic Oyster. While there are five distinct types of oysters, the Atlantic oyster flourishes in our waters. Gulf oysters, as they are affectionately called, are one of the most important foods in our local cuisine. Our Southern position helps these tasty beauties grow big and flavorful. Perfect for a po' boy. Hello, lunch!
But, after lunch, dinner, breakfast or that dozen or so you put back at happy hour, what becomes of the oyster shells? And, why should you care about them? Quite simply, the oyster shells play an important role in growing new oysters. Beyond ensuring a steady supply of oysters to our local market, the oyster shells provide a medium for new oysters shells to grow. Healthy, native oyster habitat cleans and filters coastal waters, provides habitat for our native fisheries, and helps to stabilize our shoreline.
The good news is that efforts to prevent oyster shells from going to the landfill are already underway. Over 25 local restaurants in partnership with Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana's recycling program have collected over 9 tons of shells. These shells will be returned to the shoreline in the Biloxi Marsh in Bernard parish. The reef requires over 800 tons of shells. For readers interested in diverting oyster shells from trash and recycling them, email email@example.com. We are beginning a zero-waste service in March and are looking for 50 households to participate. Just think about this, if we were to send every shell back to the coast, what kind of a positive impact would that collective action have on our future?
Let's honor oysters that feed us so well and send them back to our beautiful coastal Louisiana waters.