Del. to Recycle Oyster Shells - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. to Recycle Oyster Shells


LEWES, Del. - On Thursday, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays bagged 450 bags of oyster shells to recycle.

According to EJ Chalabala, the Aquatic Restoration Coordinator, the shells are extremely beneficial to the Delaware waters, and currently the state is not taking full advantage of it.

"They can be used for oyster reefs which we hope to put in a lot of Delaware waters and especially the inland bays," he said. "They just provide... a lot of habitat and oysters need that hard substrate to attach to, our inland bays are devoid of all that."

Today's shells will be used to create a living shoreline which is a more natural way to line the bays.

Chalabala is also working on a program, "Don't Chuck your Shucks," which would get local Delaware restaurants involved in oyster recycling.

"We've got a grant from [The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control] to pursue this program," he explained. "We want to provide a way, certainly free of charge cause it benefits us to do it, it benefits the water and hopefully it benefits the restaurants to take their oysters."

One restaurant that hopes to get involved is Henlopen City Oyster House in Rehoboth Beach. Currently, their shells all go straight to a landfill. On a busy week, that's about 7,000 shells that are not being recycled.

"It's important for the inland bays and the local fisherman, it could create jobs," Ron Lemin, a manager at the restaurant said. "We love oysters so it would be very important."

Chalabala said he hopes this love of oysters spreads throughout the state. He explained that many other shellfish producing states already have similar programs.

"We're not recreating the wheel here, it's pretty easy to start a program," Chalabala said. "For Delaware they just need to get into it and that's what we want to do because we need the oyster in Delaware."

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