May 28, 2019
Be thankful for oysters. In addition to being delicious, the mollusks play a critical role in maintaining our nation’s coastlines. Not only do they filter sediment and other pollutants out of the water, their reefs also serve as a home for crabs, fish and other coastal sea creatures.
For decades, large reefs across the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia coast formed the foundation of a vibrant fishing economy. But in the last several decades, oyster populations have plummeted. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, “as a result of decades of pollution, overharvesting and disease, the Bay’s native oyster population has been estimated at as low as one percent of historic levels.”
The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) has an innovative plan for rebuilding these habitats, and Pittsburgh’s restaurants are the first in Pennsylvania to help.