June 16, 2011- Taste of the Vineyard Becomes the First Public Event for the MV Sell Recovery Initiative.

Our new MV Shell Recovery program funded last month by the Edey foundation and run by Jessica Kanozak saw its first public event last night. 

All the shells from the raw bar were saved in seperate bins marked with our new logo and will be aged and recycled to promote better oyster habitat in our ponds. Project details below.

Collecting Shell to Sustain Shellfish Habitat

Shell is a truly native source needed for the continuation of wild oyster populations.  Martha’s Vineyard is an island rich in shellfisheries and alarmingly more often than not shell is ending up in driveways or landfills.  Wild oyster survival is dependent on small bits of shell forming a natural bed on the seafloor to which oyster spawn ‘cements’.  Most of MV’s waters are mud, silt or sand- poor oyster habitat.  When shell is removed from a waterbody at harvest, the oyster’s habitat suffers.  

Each year the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group works toward re-establishing oyster populations island-wide.  This is done simply by returning shell to the seafloor.  Often there is a shortage of available shell on Martha’s Vineyard, forcing MVSG to seek, and sometimes purchase, recycled shell from the mainland.  Replacing shell is a key component of oyster management.  With an island-wide shell collection partnership, MV can build great oyster habitats and keep them completely “local”, from oyster harvest, to half-shell on the table, and back to habitat for the next oyster catch.

By harvesting Vineyard oysters, scallops and clams we are inadvertently removing precious habitat from the waters. 

MV Shell Recovery replaces that habitat with recycled shell!

Shell-donors can look forward to reducing dumpster waste volume.

Island restaurants & businesses are encouraged to participate. Oyster, scallop, clam & mussel shells are collected using 5-gallon containers with lids.  The MV Shell Recovery Partnership can provide containers with identifying recycling labels, if needed.  Full containers, free of inorganic trash, should be to some extent vehicle accessible for easy pick-up.  

Individual citizen participation is encouraged. Volunteers are needed to help in the collection process.  If you are holding a raw bar/clam bake event and would like to donate shells please contact Jessie to arrange for a special pick-up. You can also help by encouraging other restaurants to participate in the Shell Recovery Partnership.  Lastly, the MV Shellfish Group (MVSG) and Shell Recovery (MVSR) are always in need of financial support to keep the programs running.  Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to keep us going! Mail your contribution to:

MV Shell Recovery Partnership

Box 1552

Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Jessie Kanozak (508) 560-2993 [mobile]

Project Goals:

  •  Provide a natural resource of shell to protect and maintain local shellfish habitat.
  • Develop a higher standard of water quality-as shells are primarily composed of calcium carbonate-a natural water acidification buffer.
  • Recycle shell to reduce bulk waste from the Martha’s Vineyard waste stream.

Similar, thriving projects are underway up and down the East Coast;

Oyster Recovery Partnership; Chesapeake Bay, Maryland www.oysterrecovery.org

The Oyster Restoration Program; Great Bay, New Hampshire www.oyster.unh.edu/shell_recycling.html

Oyster Shell Recycling of North Carolina; www.ncfisheries.net/shellfish/recycle1.html