Make oyster shell recycling a priority.
The future of oyster shell recycling is currently being debated on Beacon Hill, and we need you to make your voice heard.
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue is currently considering a $1 per bucket tax credit for restaurants that recycle oysters. This would supercharge our recycling program, giving restaurants the push they need to sign on and participate. Sign the letter below, and we'll submit the signatures to the committee.
Dear Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue,
As a Massachusetts resident, member of the Massachusetts Oyster Project and advocate for keeping our coastal waters clean, I strongly urge you to support S1624 An Act to promote conservation through oyster shell recycling.
Oyster shell is incredibly valuable to the health of our estuaries and coastal waters as it serves as an ideal surface for oyster spat to settle, grow, and multiply. It provides the base for natural oyster reefs. The hard and variegated structure of an oyster reef helps to stabilize a shoreline, protecting it against wave action, which is of growing importance as the effects of climate change cause sea levels to rise and coastal storms increase in severity. Additionally, the bicarbonate composition of the shell helps to buffer rising acidity in our waters, another impact of climate change.
At present, tons of shell is dumped into landfills each year. Local restaurants must pay to dispose of the waste, when it could be put to use in these community-based restoration projects. The Massachusetts Oyster Project has built relationships with dozens of seafood restaurants in Massachusetts and determined that there is much interest and support for shell recycling. This bill would give restaurants the extra push they need to join the sustainable recycling infrastructure.
In addition to being a crucial economic driver for many coastal communities in the Commonwealth, oysters serve an important ecological purpose in our waters. Each oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day, cleaning out sediment, nitrogen, and other pollutants from our harbors and estuaries. Historically, Massachusetts’ coastlines were covered with oyster reefs, however, due to overfishing and development, these natural reefs have been depleted. Restoring our native oyster populations is critical to maintaining the delicate balance of our waters and fisheries.
This Act would incentivize restaurants to separate their shell and recycle it for these much needed coastal restoration projects. Please vote yes to recycling oyster shell as a critical step to keeping our coastal communities and fisheries healthy and productive.