The oysters are back just in time for the tourist season and you’ll find them in many delicious offerings at Manatee County’s eight participating Shuck ‘N Save Restaurants. They are not only a succulent component of any seafood dining experience, but oysters can also play a key role as water filterers in reducing excess nutrients in our waterways that feed red tide and other Harmful Algal Blooms. For example, just one adult oyster can filter over 20 gallons of seawater every day.

That’s why START is so pleased to be a part of the three-year renewal of the Gulf Coast Oyster Recycle and Renewal (GCORR) Program in a partnership with the Manatee County Natural Resources Department, the Gulf Shellfish Institute, the University of Florida IFAS Manatee Extension, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, the eight Manatee County Shuck ‘N Save restaurants and Waste Pro USA. The goal is to save shell from restaurant diners, keep it out of our landfills as garbage and use it instead to build the strata to support new oyster beds in specially designated sites along the Manatee River. This is an important environmental program that will help improve the quality of the water in the river by removing impurities as it flows out into the Gulf of Mexico.

How Can You Help? Visit one of the participating Shuck ‘N Save Restaurants and enjoy some oysters knowing that the shells will be put to good use filtering your local waterways. It’s also important to note that the “fresh shell” from restaurant diners generates 23% more new oysters than the fossil shell dug up out east that is traditionally used to restore oyster reefs.

Be a part of the GCORR Program and dine at any of the four Anna Maria Oyster Bars on US 41 or Cortez Road in Bradenton, the Pier at Bradenton Beach or on Avenue East in Ellenton or any of the three Chiles Group of Restaurants, the Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant on Broadway on Longboat Key, the Beach House on Gulf Drive North in Bradenton Beach and The Sandbar on Spring Street on Anna Maria Island, or the Swordfish Grill in the historic Cortez Village. You’ll be glad you did.

Bon Appetit.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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