So all your guest have enjoyed freshly- steamed oysters at your Oyster Roast party now what? This is when one of the most important steps in the Oyster Roast process happens, shell recycling! Why recycle the shells? There are several very important reasons to get the oyster shells back into the salt marsh.
The first and main reason for oyster shell recycling, is returning the oyster shells back in the salt marsh is for new oysters reefs to form and produce habit for the next crop of oysters. There is nothing that will produced new oyster growth like other oyster shells. So getting the old shells back in the salt marsh is very important to insure that we can enjoy oysters with friends and family for decades to come.
The next reason for shell recycling is that oysters filter the water in the creeks keeping the water quality level high to enjoy other activities, like fishing, crabbing and shrimping. Better water quality means better seafood quality. Along with Oysters, the Spartina grass growing in the marshes are what keep the water clean!
Another great reason for shell recycling is restoration of fish habitat. The oysters reefs provide a place for small fish like mud minnows, mullet and mummichogs to find safety from predator fish, such as Red Drum or Spotted Sea Trout. Oyster reefs start the food chain that provides food for sport fish that anglers covet.
Coastal Caterers works with three different groups and agencies to recycle our shell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, The South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources and the Coastal Conservation Association. These groups understand the absolute importance of shell recycling. Coastal Caterers recycled over 7000 pounds of oyster shell during the 201/2014 season and hope to increase this number next season. Not all caterers recycle their shell, but hopefully will do so in the future. So when you are planning your next oyster roast, please contact us and keep this most important aspect in mind so we can enjoy hot oysters for years to come!