Shell Recycling

Shell Donor

The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program has launched an Oyster Shell Recycling Program with local participating restaurants and festivals.

Why do we need oyster shell?

One of the most important requirements for oyster restoration is dried-out shell. Oyster larvae need a hard substrate, or bottom, in order to settle and grow. ShiRP uses dried surf clam shell, and oyster shell, in both our lab hatchery and in the field.

At our Southampton marine laboratory, we are conditioning adult oysters, or broodstock, to produce new generations of young. Once the adult oysters spawn, they must be able to settle on hard substrate. Dried shell is one of the best materials to use, and is natural to the ecosystem. By filling large mesh bags with hundreds of individually dried shell, we create "shellbags" which are then placed in large tubs where oyster larvae floats, settles, and then grows. These shellbags are eventually deployed into Shinnecock Bay.

In October 2017, ShiRP was granted permits—the first ever on Long Island—to construct small scale pilot oyster reefs in Western Shinnecock Bay. The reef restoration will be home to oysters large and small, and will provide complex habitat to many organisms in the reef ecosystem.

A Win-Win

Many restaurants and oyster festivals around Long Island typically discard used shell into the trash. Donating shell to ShiRP not only helps us collect material we need for restoration, but it reduces landfill waste and creates meaningful partnerships with the local business community.

We started the program in September 2017, and have so far have collected over 225 gallons of shell!

Seeking Partners!

As we begin re-establishing oysters and oyster reefs to Shinnecock Bay, we are in search of both shell and volunteers to help!

If you are interested in donating shell, growing oysters in our community garden, or volunteering to help with our other restoration activities, please contact Rachel or Christine at

We are grateful to our current shellfish donors!

The Walrus and The Carpenter's Traveling Oyster Company
The Walrus and The Carpenter's Traveling Oyster Company

Haskell's Seafood
Haskell's Seafood
4603 Middle Country Road
Calverton, NY 11933


BLue Island Oysters
Blue Island Oysters
136 Atlantic Ave
West Sayville, New York 11796
(631) 563-1330

Pentimento Restaurant and Lounge
93 Main St
Stony Brook, NY 11790
(631) 689-7755

Welcome    Event

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oyster shell collection