The GSB Oyster Project

Supporting Oyster Farmers & Aquaculture

Save The Great South Bay, a 501(c)3 environmental non-profit, is proud to launch the GSB Oyster Project with an initial effort to support local oyster farmers struggling due to COVID-19 market shutdown by purchasing their excess oyster inventory, repurposing it to seed oyster beds in GSB no-harvest zones, and supporting water quality through natural filtration.

Long Island has long been known for its delicious Blue Point oysters and they were a source of trade for many centuries. However, over harvesting, pollution and mainland development greatly contributed to the industry’s decline. In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of aquaculture in the Great South Bay led by Blue Island Oyster and over a dozen oyster independent oyster farmers.

 

Oysters play an important role in the health of the Bay. Similar to clams, they feed on micro algae and microorganisms. One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, removing pollutants such as nitrogen. This is important because excess nitrogen in the Bay triggers algal blooms that reduce oxygen levels, choking eel grass and triggering large-scale fish kills. Through supporting our local aquaculture, we can help restore a diverse and abundant eco-balance to the Great South Bay.

Short Term Goals

With a short term goal of supporting local aquaculture, the Great South Bay Oyster Project kicked off with the purchase of over 5,000 mature oysters, the big, the ugly, the unmarketable, from multiple local farmers including Fire Island Oysters, Maris Stella OystersLucky 13 Oysters, and Thatch Island Oysters to help offset losses they have incurred due to COVID-19 related restaurant closures. These oysters remain in the Bay performing their natural filtration superpower. That’s up to 25,000 gallons of water being filtered naturally every single day!

Long Term Vision

The longer term mission is to create an umbrella project under which the multitude of organizations and individuals, from scientists and municipalities to oyster farmers and governmental agencies,  who are working on oyster restoration efforts, can share information, collaborate and work together to amplify our combined efforts and promote the restoration of oysters in the Great South Bay. It will take all of us to protect and preserve the Bay for future generations to enjoy.

This part of the project was made possible in part by a generous donation from Blue Point Brewing Company and logistical support from the Gino Macchio Foundation Want to be a part of the GSB Oyster Project? Contact us to find out how you can participate by emailing [email protected]

About Save The Great South Bay

Save The Great South Bay Inc. is a 501(c)3 environmental non-profit dedicated to the revitalization of The Great South Bay.  We are over 15,000+ members from the South Shore, past and present, baymen, fishermen, boaters, paddle boarders, surfers, sailors, environmentalists, civic associations, schools, marine scientists, all working together to protect and preserve the Bay for future generations to enjoy.  Our collaborative three-prong approach spans the 16 South Shore towns and villages, from Massapequa to Mastic focusing on creek maintenance, native habitat restoration, and shellfish restoration.