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Oyster Bay releases 1 million seeds to boost shellfish population

Town officials and baymen say the effort will help filter water and keep a once-thriving industry on Long Island running for future generations.

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, left, and Councilwoman

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, left, and Councilwoman Michele Johnson helped seed Oyster Bay Harbor with one million clam seeds on Thursday. Photo Credit: Newsday / Paola Guzman

The Town of Oyster Bay placed one million clam seeds in Oyster Bay Harbor to restore the shellfish population, in an effort to bolster the economy and improve the environment.

Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilwoman Michele Johnson and members of the North Oyster Bay Baymen's Association seeded the harbor together from Theodore Roosevelt Park last Thursday.

“Programs like this help bolster the economy and improve the resiliency of our coastal communities and resources by restoring shellfish population to this water,” Saladino said.

The towns of Brookhaven, Hempstead, and Islip have also undertaken similar efforts to restore shellfish population.

“The preservation of Oyster Bay’s water quality is vital to making the water clean for fishing, swimming, boating and all life in the harbor," Johnson said.

Shellfish are “filter feeders” that improve the health of the waters. Each adult shellfish can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, Saladino stated. The town grows oyster and clam seedlings in a facility before they are released in the water to protect them from predators. 

Saladino ensures that there is no overwhelming competition between baymen and restaurant owners because the seeds are placed in certified waters and not in restaurant-leased waters.

The town will continue to seed the harbor yearly to keep baymen working and create a successful environment for the bays and waterways.

A member of the baymen’s association said that this initiative is important to their future. “It ensures that they’ll [younger generation] be working next year, and the following year, and so on,” Bobby Defio said.

Baymen said they have a goal of producing their own seeds by next year, officials said. 

“The goal is to keep the harbor alive,” Defio said.

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