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Can Oysters Save Our Seas?

Posted by : Chetan Kulkarni, Boston, North America, Urban Designer
16 Feb, 2021 17:47:34

This essay discusses the increase of oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay “through a combination of restoration, sustainable practices, and aquaculture.” 

It describes how oyster reefs form living shorelines. "While more frequent and powerful storms and rising sea levels can erode coastlines and damage communities, oyster reefs halt or slow those waves and reinforce the strength of shorelines” and so, they "provide some protection from the disruptions of climate change."  Though oysters have many additional "crucial environmental benefits,"  the author provides a caution to avoid an unmeasured dependency on them. Being cognizant of their population numbers can help realistically gauge the extent to which oysters can save our seas. The author summarizes by quoting two strategies - one, using  “oyster populations as an indicator of the bay’s health”  to guide land-use policies that can control polluting activities in the bay area; and second, encouraging participation from individuals and businesses to recycle oyster shells for “helping the oyster population recover.”