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One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure

MOREHEAD CITY - You’ve just had your entire family over for an oyster roast and now you need to get rid of the shells. Instead of using them to fill in that hole in your driveway, consider recycling.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has collection sites set up in several coastal counties to gather oyster shells from individuals and businesses. The division stockpiles shells and then places them overboard in selected areas to grow more oysters.

This is how it works. Oysters begin life as free-floating organisms, but quickly settle to the bottom attaching to hard surfaces. They grow on pilings and concrete, but their favorite, most productive place to grow is on other oyster shells.

The more places we create for these tasty critters to grow, the more oysters we will have. Since oysters also help clean water, more oysters mean cleaner water. It’s a win-win situation.So take those shells destined for the trash heap and turn them into them an estuarine treasure by participating in the North Carolina Oyster Shell Recycling Program.

Collection sites are located in Brunswick, Carteret, Edgecombe, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt and Wilson counties. Visit to learn more about the program and view collection locations. The DMF will also provide a collection trailer at large oyster roasts. North Carolina is committed to rebuilding its once-abundant oyster stocks through a variety of techniques.

Recently the N.C. General Assembly appropriated money for a number of oyster restoration projects, including planning for hatcheries to grow native oyster seed, enhancing existing sanctuaries to produce a brood stock of healthy native oysters and promoting oyster shell recycling. The state is also launching a project allowing pier owners to grow oysters in cages under their docks. Visit
to learn more about these innovative programs.

For more information about recycling shells, please contact Craig Hardy at [email protected] or by calling 800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.
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