Oyster Shell Recycling Program Breaks Record in 2017

Purchasing manager Noaman Derakhshanrokni and staff at Old Ebbitt Grill

The Oyster Recovery Partnership is celebrating a big victory: its shell recycling program collected a record-breaking 33,400 bushels of used oyster shells last year. All those shells will go to good use, planting millions of baby oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

The 1,169 tons of oyster shell came from 340 different businesses in 2017. The top contributors this year are restaurants and seafood suppliers in Annapolis, Baltimore, Hunt Valley, Jessup and Washington, D.C. Is your favorite restaurant on the list?

  1. Congressional Seafood Company (Jessup, Md.) — 1,745 bushels (reclaimed from customer distribution sites)
  2. Old Ebbitt Grill (D.C.) — 1,420 bushels
  3. Faidley’s Seafood (Baltimore, Md.) — 1,161 bushels
  4. Boatyard Bar and Grill (Annapolis, Md.) — 946 bushels
  5. Rappahannock Oyster Bar (D.C.) — 884 bushels
  6. The Local Oyster Restaurant and Catering(Baltimore, Md.) — 881 bushels
  7. Jessie Taylor Seafood (D.C.) — 852 bushels
  8. Captain White Seafood City (D.C.) — 852 bushels
  9. Ryleigh’s Oyster (Hunt Valley, Md.) — 848 bushels
  10. Mike’s Crab House (Riva, Md.) — 822 bushels

All 340 participating restaurants are members of the Shell Recycling Alliance, a program that has collected 143,000 bushels of oyster shell since it started in 2010. Those shells have helped conservationists plant 715,000,000 oysters so far.

After oyster shells are collected, they are aged outside for one year, then washed and set with spat at UMCES Horn Point Laboratory Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, Maryland. Then, the Oyster Recovery Partnership works with other oyster restoration groups to plant the baby oysters on reefs throughout the Bay.

“As our name suggests, the fundamental pillar of the Oyster Recovery Partnership is our partners,” said ORP Executive Director Stephan Abel. “The large scale Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration projects seen today would not be possible without the help and resources of our diverse group of supporters.”