OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They clean the water, create a more durable coastline, and most find them delicious — we’re talking oysters.
For decades the population in oyster Bay has dwindled, but now a turnaround.
Thursday was a busy day at the Wester Waterfront Pier in Oyster Bay as baymen readied piles of seed oysters for a send off into the wild.
When seed oysters first arrive at the pier they’re about the size of a pinkie nail. Then they’re grown in buckets called flupsies until they are survivable size.
CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock joined the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association and town reps as they set out into the bay to reseed the oyster population — simply put, they toss young bivalves into the water.
The project started in the late 90s, and picked up pace about 10 years ago, after setbacks from Sandy they are finally seeing fruits of their labor.
“We’re starting to see now, something we’ve never seen before,” Douglas Rodgers said.
Natural setting oyster are spawning and spreading to other areas.
Right now, most baymen in Oyster Bay harvest clams, oysters really haven’t been on the menu, but reseeding them could change that.
“Could lead to an industry of digging oysters,” Rodgers said.
Officials say what’s good for the bay is good for the economy.
“We’re protecting the resource, creating sustainability, helping our economy, making sure Oyster Bay is filled with oysters,” Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said.
“We want the harbor to come back. We want it for the next generation, and generations after,” Bobby DeFeo said.
That’s why they volunteer their time to growing and reseeding oysters in Oyster Bay.
Reseeding costs about $50,000 a year, and is covered by baymen permit fees and the town. Oysters seeded on Thursday may be available for harvest in a little over a year.