For many travelers, no vacation is complete without at least trying the somewhat mysterious oyster and the tourism industry has been happy to provide the bivalve mollusks to curious travelers and experienced huskers alike for generations. No matter if you serve oysters at a
traditional country-style oyster roast or in a hip-modern oyster bar, serving oysters results in a great deal of oyster shells. Unfortunately, until recently many shucked oysters ended up in landfills rather than living on to help produce more oysters. Scientists have since found that the most productive place for oysters to grow is on other oyster shells. To help improve declining oyster numbers, many programs to recycle oyster shells as oyster reefs have started. The North Carolina Oyster Shell Recycling program collects oyster shells from events and business and places them back in the coastal water. Over 50North Carolina restaurants participate in the program and there are over 100 shell recycling stations across the state. For information on oyster recycling or how to participate in the program in North Carolina, contact Sabrina Varnam at the NC Division of Marin Fisheries by telephone at 252-726-7021 or by email at Sabrina.Varnam@ncdenr.gov or view the oyster shell recycling tip sheet.