CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program collects shell from New Orleans-area restaurants and uses that shell to restore oyster reefs that help protect Louisiana’s eroding coast line. Launched in June 2014, this is the first program of its kind in Louisiana, and it has collected thousands of tons of oyster shell.

  • Oyster are an incredible natural resource! Living oysters and oyster reefs help improve water quality, provide fishing habitat, support the local economy, and help protect shoreline by breaking waves.

  • Oyster larvae (baby oysters) need hard surfaces like shells for settlement and growth.

  • Louisiana produces approximately one-third of the nation’s oysters.

  • Louisiana currently experiences a shell deficit–most shell removed from the coast is not returned, and even worse, much of it ends up in landfills.

Why do we recycle oyster shell?
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  • 100% of the shell will be returned to Louisiana waters.

  • Most of the shell will be used to construct oyster reefs. Our first reef–a half-mile long living shoreline–was installed in Biloxi Marsh in November 2016. Our next reef is planned for Barataria Bay.

  • 20% of the shell is donated to an aquaculture program with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to help support Louisiana’s oyster fishery and promote heathy reefs across the state.

  • We monitor the shoreline changes and reef development at our project sites to assess their success.

How will the shell be used?
  • You can help save the coast by eating oysters! Patronize the restaurants listed below and be sure to tell them that you appreciate their participation in oyster shell recycling.

  • Volunteer with CRCL to help bag shell for use in reef restoration projects!

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How can I get involved?
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It took thousands of people eating mounds of oysters for our Oyster Shell Recycling Program to have enough reclaimed oyster shell to construct our first oyster reef. This 360° video shows the construction of our first half-mile oyster reef using 1.7 million pounds of oyster shell collected from New Orleans restaurants. 

Oyster Shell Recycling Program

CRCL's Oyster Shell Recycling Program is the first of its kind in Louisiana! Find out more about this simple and delicious way to help restore our coast.

OSRP Interactive Map

Travel to all the important places of our Oyster Shell Recycling Program - from your favorite oyster bars to the Buras boat harbor to the coastal waters of Biloxi Marsh. Check out our interactive map!


Once you shuck 'em,

Don't just chuck 'em!

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