Restaurants across the Mississippi Gulf Coast are teaming up with The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi to help restore the oyster population.
To date, 51 restaurants throughout southern Mississippi have agreed to join the program, which will use half-shell oysters to help restore oyster beds in the Gulf for reproduction.
“The idea is to intercept those shells before they get to a landfill or dispose of them in some other way and put them back into the marine environment where they can be used for future oyster reef restoration or some other type of restoration process,” Tom Mohrman, Nature Conservancy of Mississippi marine programs director, told WLOX.
Mohrman explained that approximately five million are sold annually along the Coast, making up around 1,200 cubic yards and about 1.6 million pounds of oyster shells every year.
At this time, 14 other states have effectively implemented the program, contributing to the increase in oyster beds over several years.
“Anything we can do to support the recovery of oysters in Mississippi I think is worth pursuing, or at least see if it’s viable or worth the cost of benefit,” Mohrman said. “We’re hoping to build the program over time so if there are 51 restaurants potentially out there for us to get shells from we’re going to work with each and every one of them when we can.”
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