Major shortage of empty oyster shells on the eastern shore

DELMARVA – The Shell Recycling Alliance is asking people to drop off their empty oyster shells to help ensure the future supply of oysters in the area. Typically they collect about 36,000 of oysters a year. This year they’ve only collected 14,000 bushels.

We’re told empty shells are needed to produce more oysters, however, due to the pandemic, the supply has dropped quite a bit with restaurants closed or reducing menu items.

The major concern lies within the coming years, as the deficit in supply hinders how many ready oysters there will be, since they take a year to age.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm about eating oysters, especially going back out to restaurants and what not as things re-open, we have that to look forward to, it’ll be a lot of work, but were used to that, but it’ll be like a normal spring and fall are our busiest seasons for picking up shells and we expect it to be just like that,” says Shell Recycling Alliance, Tommy Price.

The Shell Recycling Alliance says you can help by taking your empty oyster shells to drop-off sites. You can find a list of those sites at

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