Monday, May 6, 2013

Oyster Reef Habitat Helps Fisheries Grow Oyster Shell Recycling at B&G Oyster Invitation is Fun and Productive

Estuary Habitat is Key to Growing Fisheries- Oysters Improve that Habitat

One of the benefits of restoring oysters is that we are creating habitat for over 100 other species. Those small creatures provide food for larger species. This fact was recently highlighted in a recent report released by Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). It was co-authored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - More Habitat Means More Fish - and makes a powerful case that investing in our nation's coastlines and estuaries leads to healthy habitat and strong fisheries, which has a positive impact on the businesses and industries, both recreational and commercial, that need healthy fisheries  to survive and thrive)

Among the findings are:
  • Over 75 percent of our nation's commercial fish catch and 80-90 percent of the recreational fish catch depend on key estuary habitat at some point in their lifecycle.
  • Fish populations can respond quickly to habitat improvement and the impact will last over an extended period of time. Rebounds in fish populations can occur within months and persist for years.
  • In San Francisco Bay, restored salt marshes have improved 41 fish species including steelhead trout, Pacific herring, green sturgeon and Chinook salmon.
  • Since 2000, in Massachusetts and New York, herring, shad and sturgeon have doubled and tripled in population due to habitat restoration projects. Just two years after a single culvert was repaired connecting Bride Brook to Long Island Sound, the herring population more than tripled from 75,000 to 287,000.
  • An oyster reef restoration project in Alabama increased populations of several economically-important species, including blue crab, red drum, spotted seatrout, and flounder.
"Investing in coastal and estuarine habitat restoration is essential not only for the long-term future of our fisheries but also because it helps support economies and communities through the recreational and commercial fishing industries," said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America's Estuaries. "In order to have fish, we have to have healthy habitat. If we want more fish, we need more healthy habitat."

American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman noted, "As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on our nation's habitat restoration efforts. In many ways, America's anglers are the nation's most powerful force for conserving our nation's fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales." Here at Mass Oyster, we hope that this will serve as a catalyst for the fishing community to lock arms with the oyster restoration groups. Together we can move mountains.  

Oyster Shell Recycling at B&G Oyster Invitational Goes Well

The Oyster invitational at B&G Oysters was terrific from many perspectives. Like the four previous events, it was a terrific with excellent food, tasty beverages and wonderful people. Mass Oyster manned a booth and collected shell for recycling. From a recycling perspective it was our best year ever with the highest yield and the lowest bycatch. With better collection methods organized by Barbara Lynch's crack team we exceeded our hauling capability and will need to rethink our logistics for next year. 

We have a special shout out to manager Jennifer Pieters who worked hard and was particularly helpful. Below are some of our volunteers.

oyster tattoo
Volunteer Rachel Hoch modeled her Mass Oyster tattoo.

newly engaged oyster volunteers
The newly engaged volunteer duo of  Max foster and Lesley Spencer also provided important assistance.

Naked Cowboy  Blue Island Oysters
The Blue Island Oyster Company who produces the "Naked Cowboy" Oysters brought there namesake up from Times Square. He was quite popular for photos and most congenial.
Load of shell for recycling.
Volunteers Katharine Andrews and Greg toast a successful day with a truckload of shell for recycling.


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