Baton Rouge, LA; Today the Louisiana Legislature passed a resolution recognizing the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) for its Oyster Shell Recycling Program, the first-of-its-kind in Louisiana. As the program nears its one year anniversary it has surpassed Maryland’s program as the largest oyster shell recycling program in the country.
 
The announcement comes on the heels of the Legislature’s passage of House Concurrent Resolution 1 (HCR1), which is the funding mechanism for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2015-2016 annual plan. The passage of HCR1 reconfirms the Legislature’s commitment to coastal restoration. The legislative commendation of the Oyster Shell Recycling Program is a testament to CRCL’s mission to drive bold, science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana.
 

“Louisiana loves oysters – and we produce a lot of oyster shell,” said Hilary Collis, CRCL’s Restoration Program Director. “It just didn’t make sense to throw all those shells in landfills when we knew they should be going back in the water to make our oyster fishery stronger and protect our coast. In less than a year, our 12 participating New Orleans area Restaurants have collected 725 tons of oyster shell that will be returned to our coastal waters.
 
“The program’s success really rests with the restaurants and their willingness to ensure that Louisiana oysters remain plentiful for generations to come. We want to thank our 12 restaurant partners, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Phoenix Recycling for their continued help and support. Also a very big thank you to Shell for its generous financial support of the program.”
 
CRCL’s current restaurant partners include: Acme Oyster House (New Orleans and Metairie locations), the Bourbon House, Redfish Grill, Peche Seafood, Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Lüke, Pier 424 Seafood Market, LeBayou, Drago’s (New Orleans and Metairie locations) and The Royal House. CRCL plans to announce more restaurant partners in the New Orleans area this summer, and is also exploring the possibility of expanding the program to Baton Rouge restaurants.
 
Representative Ray Garofalo (R-Chalmette) sponsored the House Concurrent Resolution. According to Garofalo, “CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program proves how valuable non-profit organization and private business partnerships are to restoring our coast. What a delicious way to do that!” Oysters grow best on beds of natural shell. Unfortunately, Louisiana experiences a shell deficit, meaning that most of the oyster shells removed from Louisiana waters are not returned to our oyster beds. The Louisiana oyster industry produces one-third of the nation’s oysters, with a $300 million impact on the state’s economy.
 
The collected shells are currently being stored at a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries site in Buras, LA, where they will cure for six months before being bagged by volunteers and then strategically placed in waters off the coast of Louisiana. The shell will not only help and encourage oyster growth, but over time, the newly formed oyster reefs will also help build new coastal marsh and mitigate storm surge.
 
“Our coast is our future,” said CRCL Executive Director, Kimberly Davis Reyher “and this is just the sort of partnership approach we need to restore our coast. We need urgent action if we are going to sthe tide of land loss and CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program is just one way that we can all make a difference.”
 
CRCL will be recycling oyster shell at the 2015 Oyster Festival in New Orleans Saturday and Sunday, May 30-31. Come join us and do your part to restore Coastal Louisiana.

Contact: Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225-767-4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
 
About CRCL:
Founded in 1988, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is the longest-standing statewide organization driving bold, science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration and advocacy. With the support of members and volunteers, CRCL advocates strong coastal policies and implements restoration projects across Coastal Louisiana.  For more information about CRCL, you can visit their website here.