“Don’t Chuck Your Shucks” Gears Up for its Second Season

Center for the Inland Bays Sets Goal to Collect 2,000 Bushels for the Bays

At the start of its second season, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays’ (CIB) oyster shell recycling program, Don’t Chuck Your Shucks is geared up to double last year’s record.

In 2015, “Don’t Chuck Your Shucks” successfully collected over 1,000 bushels of shell, surpassing the goal set for the year. This year, the CIB expects to easily pass that target, “With 16 restaurants on board, our goal is to collect 2,000 bushels and ‘bag’ 500 bushels of shell by the end of 2016,” said Project Manager Bob Collins.

The CIB, with support from The Delaware Nature Conservancy and the participation of local restaurants, collects discarded shell from restaurants to use in restoration projects on the Inland Bays.

The success of this shell recycling program is made possible by our partner restaurants and the appetites of their patrons. When customers order clams or oysters, they’re giving back to their local inland bays, reducing trash in local landfills, and also supporting local business.

The growing list of participating restaurants includes 99 Sea Level, Bethany Oyster House, Blue Coast, Catch 54, Chesapeake & Maine, Claddagh on the Shore, George & Sons Seafood Market, Hammerheads Dockside, Hooked-up, Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant, Just Hooked, Twining’s Lobster Shanty, Off the Hook, Smitty McGees, The Starboard Raw, and Zoggs Raw Bar & Grill.

One of the newest participants is Chesapeake & Maine, the latest addition to the Dogfish Head family. “We at Dogfish have always had a commitment to our community and to the environment through many different outlets,” explains Chef Kevin Downing, “and this is a great way for us to continue that support.”

Volunteers use the Oyster Master to fill bagsAfter collection, the shell is cured for several months to kill bacteria.  When it’s ready, CIB volunteers put the shell into net bags using a device designed and built by volunteer Ab Ream. The oyster bags are used in Living Shoreline restoration projects to protect the shore from erosion by reducing wave energy.  The bagged shells provide habitat for small bottom-dwelling organisms which, in turn, support commercially valuable crabs and fish.  And shells will become oyster nurseries—oyster shell is the preferred surface for young oysters to grow on…more oysters mean more ‘mini-filtration plants’ working year-around at no cost improving water quality in the Inland Bays.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them.  With its many partners, the CIB conducts public outreach and education, develops and implements restoration projects, encourages scientific inquiry and sponsors research.  For more information call Sally Boswell at 226-8105, or email at outreach@inlandbays.org  or, go to our website at www.inlandbays.org