Community & Education
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Long Beach Island's regional culture thrived while bay men and women farmed the bay to feed their families and plenty more. Oyster reefs and naturally occurring oysters were abundant. As industrialization and land use for development increased in Ocean County, several factors contributed to decreasing water quality in our bays and led to decreases in oyster populations and essential fish and shellfish habitats.
In 2015 Stockton University’s Marine Field Station partnered with Parson’s Mariculture and the American Littoral Society on a proposal to the Barnegat Bay Partnership's shellfish research program. The team was awarded funding to continue the Society’s work in the Toms River area while Stockton and Parsons put the first ever on-the-bottom restoration site in the southern Barnegat Bay watershed.
The Partnership's funding established the Tuckerton Reef in 2016 with aquaculture-set oyster spat on whelk shell and transplanted seed from the Mullica River. The two acre research site is located in the Middle Grounds area of Little Egg Harbor Bay, with initial and future aquaculture work being done by Parsons and the scientific monitoring by Stockton. This local industry/academia partnership is now expanding to include Shiratsuchi-dc, the Shiratsuchi-dc Rock Foundation, Long Beach Township, LBI Region businesses, and you!
This collective now runs The Oyster Recycling Program. The Program’s primary goal is to create a source of shell and resources to conduct annual “sets” of oysters on the developing Tuckerton Reef, and we invite you to be a part of it!
Long Beach Township and Mayor Mancini had plans to grow oysters before Superstorm Sandy devastated our region. After a dedicated 5 years of rebuilding, the Township is now able to add other important initiatives like beautifying our parks and public access, and cleaning up the Barnegat Bay.
LBT is the leading municipality in oyster shell recycling, providing staff and vehicles to control the busy logistics of pick-ups from the restaurants. Long Beach Township has plans to build a science center in Holgate, a home base for education and get-togethers, as well as a launching point to visit the man-made oyster reefs.
As an apparel company, Shiratsuchi-dc urges each fan to "Draw Your Own Line". Much of this active lifestyle occurs on and in the water be it surfing, fishing, boating, diving, etc.
Oyster recycling is central to the brand story, and provides for an opportunity to support an environmental cause that plans to reach well beyond the Barnegat Bay in their own backyard.
Shiratsuchi-dc offers marketing outreach to spread awareness for the Oyster Recycling initiative.
The nonprofit arm of the Shiratsuchi-dc apparel brand, this 501(C)3 allows Shiratsuchi-dc to handle the program's branding and marketing, but also a separate legal entity to help fund it.
The JRF funds the purchase of the buckets you put your shells in, the baskets out back that get picked up, and all of the other branding elements (including this website). With a mission focused on the environment as well as our Future Leaders, the JRF aims to bring an educational component to Oyster Recycling by bridging the gap between students and the actual project.
Stockton University's Marine Field Station is located on the Nacote Creek, a tributary of the pristine, and oyster-rich, Mullica River. The Marine Science Program is a flagship program of the growing University, ranked top among undergraduate schools across the Nation.
Stockton's faculty, staff, and students conduct field research and monitoring in a wide range of bay-driven disciplines, including seagrass and finfish monitoring, oyster spatfall studies, larval dispersion dynamics, and oyster restoration science.
As a fifth generation bay farmer, Dale spends almost every day in the Barnegat Bay. His work goes well beyond planting and growing oysters. Dale provided the foresight for the stockton-funded BBP grant and conducted the remote set of disease-resistant oysters that started the reef project.
Parsons built his own infrastructure to set larvae and has high hopes of one day seeing consistently naturally occurring oyster sets in Little Egg Harbor bay.
Parsons Mariculture aims to get more oysters in our bay, study their growth, and improve the water quality as well.
Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House and Mud City Crab House began recycling their shell 3+ years ago. Dave Ambrose, working for Stockton University, volunteered to load his pick-up with shell every few days and haul the shell to curing sites.
Today, improved logistical support from Long Beach Township allows us to pick up shell from many restaurants in the LBI Region. Restaurants participating in our program can feel good and know that they are doing their part to help spread awareness and put shell back into the bay.
We can't do it without you! Leaders in our community like Angela Anderson & Corinne Ruff have pushed this program to the forefront. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, you have already made a contribution by putting your oyster shells into our branded bucket on the table/bar of your favorite restaurant.
The shells need at least 6 months to cure, so you can imagine the giant piles at Parsons & Stockton University. These shells will eventually become the base for man-made reefs and a birthing place for millions of oysters. You are helping us keep our bay clean and full of life.
Your donations are essential to the success of the Oyster Recycling Program
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The Oyster Farmers, a feature length documentary, centers on coastal life in NJ, specifically the Barnegat Bay. The once prolific Eastern Oyster, an economic and cultural keystone, historically decimated, is poised to recapture its legacy. Oyster farmers in the Barnegat Bay lead a Baymen’s renaissance, cultivating a resurgence of the oyster, to restore its heritage.
In association with Oak Leaf Media, the film’s driving force, the ethos of environmental stewardship, coastal culture, and sustainability echoes throughout the film. The Barnegat Bay, historically the epicenter of wild oysters on the entire Eastern Seaboard, is now less than 1%. This film aims to raise awareness of our lost oyster culture and to preserve our Baymen’s heritage.