(OCEAN CITY, Md.) - This weekend is all about oysters around Delmarva as Saturday Aug. 5 marks National Oyster Day.
This year conservation is the message advocacy groups like the Oyster Preservation Alliance want to shuck home.
"We go through a lot! On a weekend, we probably go through probably 16 bushels, which is 200 a piece," said Matthew Saloney who is kitchen manager of Bull on the Beach in Ocean City. The restaurant is just one example of local businesses working to conserve and recycle oyster shells.
Recycling oysters is one of the ways the public can pitch in to help protect and keep oysters thriving on Delmarva.
The recycled shells are cleaned and then used as new homes for baby oysters to grow in.
Dozens of eastern shore restaurants participate in an oyster shell recycling program that helps restore oyster reefs.
"We get them and we have those nice open shells," said Victoria Emerson, owner of Victoria's Seafood in Ocean City. "They can be taken down to our recycle center down on first and second street."
At Bull on the Beach, Saloney describes how the recycling program for businesses works.
"We bring them [oysters] into three containers in the back and they pick them up every Friday. They're always full because we go through a lot," said Saloney.
The public is welcome to participate in the recycling program too. People can take used shells to the nearest public oyster drop off center, one of which is located in Ocean City on 66th Street near the old water tower.
By participating in recycling oyster shells, the efforts to restore more 2,400 acres of oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay will continue to make the ecosystem safer and more sustainable for oyster populations.