Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilman Lou Imbroto and Town Clerk Richard LaMarca today joined with The Nature Conservancy, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Friends of the Bay to provide an early holiday gift to Mother Nature as 50,000+ surplus commercially-grown oysters were entered into the harbor. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shuttering of local restaurants for long periods of time, commercial oyster growers have been faced with a larger than normal surplus of mature oysters. Rather than discard these perfectly healthy bivalves, they will be placed in protected areas of Oyster Bay Harbor, where they will help naturally clean and filter local waterways while spawning additional shellfish to help build back the depleted Oyster population.
“Rather than land on dinner plates, these oysters are headed into the harbor due to the lack of demand at local restaurants during this public health pandemic,” said Supervisor Saladino. “By placing these oysters in protected areas of the harbor, we strengthen the resiliency of our waterways and boost shellfish reproduction. These oysters will also help to naturally absorb wave action for shoreline stabilization while cleaning and filtering local waterways and spawning additional shellfish to help build back the depleted the oyster population.”
This project partners the Town with the Pew Charitable Trust and the Nature Conservancy as part of their Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) Project. Under this initiative, more than 100 shellfish companies will be supported during these tough times, and over 200 critical shellfish farming jobs will be preserved across the country, all while simultaneously planting over 5 million oysters across 7 states! In addition to all the environmental benefits, commercial growers will also be reaping the economic benefits of this partnership during a time where most people and businesses have been struggling, with sales decimated within the last 9 months due to the global pandemic.
Councilman Imbroto added, “Protecting our natural assets is critically important for the Town, and by restoring our shellfish populations, we ensure that we are working to keep our waters clean. Quite simply, there is no Oyster Bay without oysters!”