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Half Shells for Habitat is a Long Island-wide partnership that collects waste oyster shells from restaurants for the purpose of returning them to Long Island's estuarine waters through oyster restoration and other habitat improvement projects.

These shells are an important natural marine resource and play a vital role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. Most significantly, they provide critical foundation upon which juvenile oysters attach and grow. After generations, this process builds oyster reefs, which provide valuable wildlife habitat and enhance coastal resiliency. Oyster shells are also important for water quality: as they dissolve, they release calcium carbonate, which helps to buffer the pH of estuarine waters and combat rising coastal acidification.

You can watch a 23-minute documentary that highlights the Town of Islip's commitment to improving water quality in the Great South Bay through the Bay Bottom Licensing Program. The link for The Blue Point Oyster can be found here:

Unfortunately, the shells of most oysters consumed on Long Island are thrown away and end up in landfills or incinerators. Few ever get back to the water to play their important role in the ecosystem. Through VOBEC's efforts, we are increasing that number: there are now seven Ocean Beach restaurants that will be contributing to this program in 2023. The next time you dine in Ocean Beach, ask your server about this program!

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