Hampton restaurant recycles record-breaking number of oyster shells, helping Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration

Posted at 12:02 PM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 12:02:11-05

HAMPTON, Va. - A Hampton restaurant has recycled a record number of oyster shells - enough to put nearly 3.9 million young oysters into the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Fuller’s Raw Bar recycled approximately 390,000 oyster shells since the beginning of 2019, a record for CBF's Virginia Oyster Restoration Program. The recycled shell totals 472 bushels, enough to seed nearly 4 acres of sanctuary reefs.

Empty oyster shells make good surfaces for baby oysters to attach to, with each shell anchoring 10 baby oysters. The oysters are then planted on sanctuary reefs, filtering water and creating habitats for fish, crabs and other marine life.

Dozens of Virginia restaurants participate in CBF's shell recycling program, but Fuller's now holds the record for the most shells coming from a single source in Virginia.

“Given the challenges everyone has faced during COVID restrictions, we honestly had concerns about our efforts to bring back oysters in the Chesapeake Bay,” said CBF Virginia Oyster Restoration Manager Jackie Shannon. “Fuller’s Raw Bar and many other restaurants around Virginia overcame huge hurdles this year while continuing to support oyster restoration. We can’t restore the Bay’s oyster population without this support from volunteers, restaurants, and other partners."