"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

Oyster Restoration



About Shuck and Share

Shuck and Share: Lagoon Restoration through Oyster Recycling is just one component of the Marine Discovery Center’s ongoing efforts to restore shorelines in the area.

The recycling project is a collaboration between the MDC and several local seafood restaurants. Shucked oyster shells from the restaurants are converted into new reef-building materials through volunteer efforts. The shells will be kept out of the landfill and recycled back into the natural system.

The oyster bags and mats, created by volunteers, will be placed into the lagoon to help stabilize shorelines and provide a foundation for oyster communities to rebuild. The mats or bags provide a place for tiny floating oysters, or spat, to settle and grow, and the cumulative weight of the new oyster growth helps build and strengthen the reef.

The Importance of Oysters

Oyster beds are a vital part of a thriving estuary. As filter feeders, oysters remove particulate matter from the lagoon and improve overall water quality. One oyster has the amazing ability to filter 50 – 60 gallons of water in one day! Oyster communities serve as habitat and breeding grounds for numerous species, and are an important part of the food chain. Oyster beds dissipate wave energy, which reduces erosion along the shoreline.

Our local oyster species, Crassostrea virginica, or the Easter Oyster, is threatened by wave energy from boat wakes, overharvesting, brown tide events, and rising sea levels.

Restoring oyster beds in the Indian River Lagoon and surrounding areas will result in a cleaner estuary that is less susceptible to erosion. These reef communities will also provide protection and food to hundreds of species in the lagoon.

How You Can Help

Attend our open oyster bag-making days – these usually occur 1-2 Saturdays per month in fall, winter, and spring.  If you are interested in scheduling a special session for your group or assisting behind the scenes, please contact Jessy at the Marine Discovery Center, 386-428-4828. This is a great project for individuals, classes, or groups who want to make a difference in the local community.

Oyster Restoration