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Big news to help turn tides blue

On Thursday, November 30th, the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program finished deploying the first part of four permitted constructed oyster reefs on Long Island. These reefs are a collaborative project between ShiRP, Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Insititute for Ocean Conservation Sciences. The reef construction is being overseen by Mike Doall, shellfish specialist with ShiRP, who has been growing juvenile oysters on shellbags for the last six months in preparation. Moving forward, Doall will continue to work with ShiRP to grow new oysters to be deployed on the additional reefs next year.

In order to produce all the oysters needed, the oyster larvae must first settle onto a solid substrate. The best substrate to use is old oyster, clam, or scallop shell. Naturally, occurring oyster reefs develop as juvenile oysters (or "spat") grow atop older shells, and the reefs expand as years progress. Since Shinnecock does not currently have existing reefs, all shell that is being used as a substrate for the juvenile oysters has been donated by local restaurants, festivals, and fishermen. After the shell is collected, it is left outside to dry for six months to prevent introducing any diseases into the Shinnecock Bay. From there the shells are put into large tubs where Doall will spawn the next generation of oysters. Finally, this "spat on shell" is outplanted onto the new reefs, and monitored for survival and growth.

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