It goes without saying oyster sales have been slow across the United States this year. You could just about feel the uptick in Google searches for grilled oyster recipes as farmers looked for markets for ever-larger product.
Into this challenging situation stepped The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Pew Charitable Trusts offering to buy 5 million surplus oysters for use in reef restoration. TNC has long been an advocate for the importance of shellfish aquaculture in contributing to healthy marine environments. By providing funds in this difficult time, this project will help ensure farmers can continue to be able to produce sustainable shellfish into the future. Robert Jones, TNC’s Global Lead for Aquaculture summarised the importance of shellfish farming to the environment saying;
“Ensuring the aquaculture industry endures through these challenges is in the interest of the conservation community. Our aquaculture program has built compelling evidence for the ecological contribution of shellfish farms to the surrounding environment, demonstrating that they can reduce excess nutrients in coastal waterways and provide habitat for wild finfish and crustaceans.”