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Oyster Restoration

Oysters are an increasingly popular subject for restoration aquaculture, which applies aquatic and marine cultivation techniques to produce organisms for release into the environment to enhance ecosystem health and functioning. Oysters are known to have an important ecological role in providing food and habitat for other critters and filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day. And because they are an economically valuable and culturally valued seafood, much has been learned in recent years about how to raise them.

(Learn more about restoration aquaculture by watching a recorded #Aquatalk session with Florida Sea Grant agent Vincent Encomio.)


Oyster Gardening

Oyster gardeners conduct some of the same activities as oyster farmers, just usually on a smaller scale, and with a different purpose:  oyster gardeners’ crops will continue life on restored reefs rather than ending up on a dinner plate. Florida Sea Grant, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, and Maryland Sea Grant are among those programs actively involved in assisting volunteers from the public learn to be oyster gardeners. Raising oysters for planting on reefs is not the only opportunity volunteers have to get involved with restoration:  Coastal Research Volunteers organized by New Hampshire Sea Grant aid in constructing and monitoring restored reef in the Great Bay estuary.

Learn more about Sea Grant's work with oysters, from research to restoration and aquaculture:

Sea Grant Knows Oysters

Featured Oyster Restoration Impacts

Meet Sea Grant Experts in Oyster Restoration

Brian Callam, Ph.D.

Director, Grand Isle Oyster Research Lab, Louisiana Sea Grant - After five years of working as a research associate at the Grand Isle Oyster Research Lab in Grand Isle, LA, earlier this year Dr. Brian Callam was named its newest director. Work at the Research Lab plays an important role in supporting the state’s management of its commercially valuable oyster resources.

“The Research Lab has had a close working relationship with the oyster industry. It is my goal to continue to strengthen this relationship to better guide research questions to have maximum positive impacts.”

Luke Gardner

Extension Specialist, California Sea Grant - Dr. Luke Gardner helped raise Olympia oysters at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories for planting at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Monterey Bay, CA. Recently, he moderated the California Sea Grant restorative aquaculture webinar.

“Raising oysters is a finicky business, but we got them through.”

LeRoy Creswell

Regional Extension Agent, Florida Sea Grant - With partners, LeRoy Creswell coordinates the Indian River Lagoon Oyster Restoration Program, putting volunteers to work recycling shells from area restaurants to construct miles of new reef habitat.

"We’ve had a lot of success. We aren’t just bringing oysters back to the lagoon. The program is helping us educate our entire community about the importance of oysters. "

In Memoriam

Oyster Restoration Stories and News

NOAA Sea Grant awards $3.5 million to improve sustainable aquaculture, strengthen seafood resources

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NOAA Sea Grant awards $3.5 million to improve sustainable aquaculture, strengthen seafood resources

NOAA Sea Grant today announced $3.5 million in federal funding to support two efforts aiding sustainable growth of U.S. seafood, one focused on improving coordination for marine aquaculture development and another that addresses COVID-19 impacts to seafood resources.  

Relief that Restores: Shellfish Aquaculture

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Relief that Restores: Shellfish Aquaculture

Sea Grant rapid response investments in aquaculture in 2020 provide multifaceted benefits

Several Sea Grant projects purchased farm fresh seafood originally intended for local restaurants and repurposed it to restore aquatic and marine environments. Not only did this creative solution aid in local restoration efforts but it also provided immediate relief to aquaculture producers whose sales were impacted by the pandemic.

Gulf Sea Grant laboratories exchange techniques, equipment to support production of oyster larvae

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Gulf Sea Grant laboratories exchange techniques, equipment to support production of oyster larvae

A strong partnership between Louisiana and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant programs fosters the exchange of information and problem solving for successful oyster larvae production; supports growing off-bottom aquaculture industry in the northern Gulf of Mexico. 

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