Oysters are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, providing a plethora of advantages to the environment and local communities. In Fairhope, Alabama, oysters are a key factor in improving water quality and creating a habitat for other marine species. An individual adult oyster can filter plankton, eliminating nitrogen and contaminants from up to 50 gallons of water per day. Oysters also filter these pollutants by consuming them or forming them into small packages, which are then deposited at the bottom of the sea, where they are not harmful.
Additionally, oysters can help protect coastlines from erosion by providing food and shelter for other marine species. Recycled oyster shells are the best substrate available for growing new oysters, as each shell can hold up to 20 new oysters. Restaurants such as Kimball House in Decatur, Georgia have been known for their oyster programs, while other outlets such as Qiu have expanded to make oysters more accessible to diners. Oyster producers such as Pangaean Seafood, Pocomo Prairie Oysters, Real Oyster Cult (SEAPA), USA USA, Sweetheart Creek Oyster Co., Ward Aquafarms Wellfleet Seafood Co., Crave Fish Bar Scull, Empire Oyster Fishers Island Oyster Farm Flex Mussels Gaiergy Corporation Green Point Fish Hampton Oyster Co., Great Marsh Shellfish Co Island Creek Oysters Mac's Seafood Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Grp Merry Oysters Mill Creek Oyster Co Nantucket Sound Shellfish Co., Kamilche Sea Farms Metropolitan Market Neptune Seafood Pacific Hybreed Pleasant Bay Oyster Company PNW Fresh Seas the Day Oyster Bar Set & Drift Tokeland Hotel & Restaurant Taylor Shellfish Farms Willapa Wild., Carlsbad Oyster Co founded Oyster Glasspar Seafood Hog Island Oyster Co. San Diego Bay Aquaculture Santa Barbara Mariculture Co.
Lanes Island Oysters The Lobster Shop Long Cove Sea Farm Love Point Oysters Luke's Lobster Maine Ocean Farms Maine Oyster Co Maine Shellfish Developers Mere Point Oysters Mook Sea Farm Nauti Sisters Sea Farm Nice Oyster Co. In the past, Chesapeake Bay oysters were able to filter a volume of water equal to that of the entire bay (about 19 trillion gallons) in one week. Nowadays, restored oyster reefs in Harris Creek on Maryland's east coast can filter the entire volume of the stream in less than 10 days during the summer. This is an incredible benefit for local communities and highlights the importance of oysters in improving water quality. By incorporating nitrogen into their shells and tissues as they grow, oysters help reduce excess nitrogen from waters.
In addition to filtering water and removing contaminants, oysters also create a habitat for other marine species.