SALISBURY, Md. - To show support for Marylanders Grow Oysters program, more than 115 people joined Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) representatives to fill oyster shell bags, according to Perdue Farms.
Volunteers gathered on Thursday at Perdue's Corporate Office parking lot to put 1,000 empty shells into nylon bags.
The initiative is run by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to help restore the Bay's oyster population.
The bagged shells will provide a home for nearly 2 million new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, according to Perdue.
"The Oyster Recovery Partnership has led the way in efforts to protect and preserve the regional oyster population, and we're proud to continue are partnership with ORP that highlights our company commitment to environmental stewardship through this volunteer effort," said Steve Schwalb, vice president of environmental sustainability at Perdue.
The bags are key in oyster production. Young larvae attach to recycled shells through a setting process, usually using large tanks filled with water at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, where the larvae are produced. Once the larvae attach to the shell, the baby oysters are distributed among the 30 tributaries participating in the 2014-2015 Marylanders Grow Oysters program.
The Marylanders Grows Oysters program provides an opportunity for waterfront property owners to grow oysters from their piers to be planted on local oyster sanctuary preserves around the Chesapeake Bay to help rebuild the oyster population.