NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The state’s first formal oyster shell recycling program began Tuesday with the announcement that over 19,000 pounds of shells were collected from various New Orleans area restaurants over the weekend.
At the kick off ceremony at the Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana said their goal is to use oyster shells to restore oyster reefs and shoreline habitat across coastal Louisiana.
The program is made possible by a $1 million philanthropic gift from Shell gas.
“We are very excited to embark on this program, which will allow local restaurants and their patrons to play a part in helping preserve our coast,” said CRCL Restoration Director, Hilary Collis. “Not only are oysters a great part of our cuisine, oyster reefs are an essential part of our coast. This program will harness a resource that is largely lost to landfills and put it to use restoring our oyster reefs and helping protect our eroding shorelines.”
“The main reason we want to be involved in recycling oyster shells is because we’re such a large user of the resource,” said Paul Rotner, Chief Operating Officer of Acme Oyster House. “It’s in our best interest. We need the shells in order to enrich the life span of our current oyster beds and to build new reefs.”
Louisiana is currently experiences a shell deficit – more shell is removed from Louisiana’s coast than is returned to help maintain oyster reefs. To make up for the deficit, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries uses crushed concrete and limestone to provide a hard substrate for oyster reefs.
CRCL estimates the oyster shell recycling program will return at least 1,500 tons of shell to Louisiana’s coast this year.
Participating restaurants are:
- Acme Oyster House (New Orleans and Metairie locations)
- the Bourbon House
- Redfish Grill
- Peche Seafood
- Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
CRCL hopes to expand the program to other restaurants as the program continues to grow.
Once you shuck ’em, don’t just chuck ’em!