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Old Oysters Back In The Bay To Restore Stock

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The walrus and the carpenter gobbled down oysters in “Alice and Wonderland”. But here in the real world, the bay could sure use the shells.

Alex DeMetrick reports Maryland’s oyster eaters are doing their part.

This may seem like the end, but it’s really the beginning.

“The shell will need to be cleaned, dried and aged for approximately one year. So every shell that’s recycled can have 20 new oysters growing off of it,” said Bryan Gomes.

All those baby oysters are riding those shells back into the bay in the effort to restore native stocks.

Only there’s a catch.

“There is a shortage of shells in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Frank Dawson, DNR Fisheries.

So last March the Oyster Recovery Partnership asked restaurants for their shells. And in the nine month since, shells recycled from restaurants in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have added up to a good amount.

“We put 4,000 bushels out, which gives us 20 million oysters back in the Bay for this year. Next year we hope to double that,” said Gomes.

For restaurants like the Federal House in Annapolis, recycling a leftover is a hit with customers.

“It’s positive feedback–educating the public about the natural resource that needs to be renewed in our bay,” said Misty Waters, Federal House Bar & Grill.

And nothing seems to work quite so well as shells.

So be nice to mother, and eat your oysters.

Twenty restaurants signed on to the recycling program in March. The number has since grown to 50 restaurants.

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