Shell Recycling

Shell Donor



Does it have to be oyster shell?
Nope!! Any shell will do... clam, oyster, scallop, etc.

Do I have to clean the shell?
Nope — all sanitation is done on our end.

Can you pick up from my establishment?
Yes — If you are within our pick-up range, we can work out a schedule!

The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program has launched a Shell Recycling Program with local participating restaurants and festivals.

Why do we need shell?

One of the most important requirements for oyster restoration is dried-out shell. Oyster larvae need a hard substrate, or bottom, in order to settle and grow. ShiRP uses dried surf clam shell, and oyster shell, in both our lab hatchery and in the field.

At our Southampton marine laboratory, we are conditioning adult oysters, or broodstock, to produce new generations of young. Once the adult oysters spawn, they must be able to settle on hard substrate. Dried shell is one of the best materials to use, and is natural to the ecosystem. By filling large mesh bags with hundreds of individually dried shell, we create "shellbags" which are then placed in large tubs where oyster larvae floats, settles, and then grows. These shellbags are eventually deployed into Shinnecock Bay.

In October 2017, ShiRP received permission to construct several small-scale oyster reefs  in Western Shinnecock Bay. But to build new reefs, we needed to find a source of shell. We began partnering with local restaurants and festivals to establish a Shell Recycling Program!

What do we do with the shell?

After collecting shell from one of our participating businesses, the shell undergoes a 6-month sanitation process. We then bundle the shell pieces together and set larval oysters on them at Stony Brook University's Marine Station in Southampton. (Note: larval oysters are also known as "spat"). When the oysters are big enough to survive in the bay, we install the bags at one of our reef locations.

If a snorkeler or fisherman happens upon a reef, they may mistake it for a jumble of shells; however, these artificial reefs provide the perfect environment for all sorts of life, such as filter-feeding bivalves and larval fish. By building up this habitat for local wildlife, we are furthering our organization's missions of increasing the biodiversity and improving the water quality of our beautiful bay!

A Win-Win

Typically, restaurants and oyster festivals around Long Island throw used shell in the trash. Donating shell to ShiRP doesn't just help with local restoration efforts; it reduces landfill waste and creates meaningful partnerships with the local business community, too!

How much progress has been made?

We started the program in September 2017, since then, we have collected over 2500 gallons of shell which has all been used to construct our living oyster reefs. 

Seeking Partners!

If you are interested in donating shell, please contact us at

Thank you to all of our current and former partners:

Haskell's Seafood
Haskell's Seafood
4603 Middle Country Road
Calverton, NY 11933

Blue Revolution Raw Bar
Blue Revolution
1019 Fort Salonga Road
Northport, NY 11768

The Steam Room
The Steam Room
4 E Broadway
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
(631) 928-6690

The Walrus and The Carpenter's Traveling Oyster Company
The Walrus and The Carpenter's Traveling Oyster Company


BLue Island Oysters
Blue Island Oysters
136 Atlantic Ave
West Sayville, New York 11796
(631) 563-1330

PJ Lobster House
PJ Lobster House
1 N Country Rd
Port Jefferson, NY, 11777
(631) 473-1143



Pentimento Restaurant and Lounge
93 Main St
Stony Brook, NY 11790
(631) 689-7755

Seatuck Environmental Association
Half Shells for Habitat
We are a recipient of Seatuck Environmental Association's Half Shell for Habitat Program! Read more here:

2018 shell 1 2018 shell 2

oyster shells oyster shells 2

2018 shell 3  2018 shell 4

2018 shell