Eat More Oysters! Restore Tampa Bay
by Anne McKay Garris
Dennis Kellenberger, general manager of Tampa Bay Watch, and former director of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, shows off an oyster shell bag, used to help restore the waters of Tampa Bay.
"Juvenile oysters, looking for a place to settle, cannot attach to the smooth mud or shifting sand," said Kellenberger. "To give them a place to attach, we provide mesh bags of oyster shells. The bags keep the shells from being scattered by the waves, and the crevices between shells provide hiding places for juvenile fish and sea critters. This is in addition to providing stable anchoring material for the oysters."
Kellenberger also provided information on how the oysters help cleanse the water by filtering suspended particles from the water as they filter for their food.
The oyster bag display was part of a Tampa Bay Watch celebration, last week, at Crabby Bill's restaurant on Indian Rocks Beach. The popular sea food restaurant has pledged to transport its used oyster shells to Tampa Bay Watch instead of to the overloaded Pinellas land fill. Crabby Bill's CEO, Matt Loder, reported the restaurant recycles 2 tons of oyster shells a week. He also announced that $1 from each of four specialty drinks, sold during the month of March, would be contributed to Tam-pa Bay Watch for Tampa Bay restoration projects.
The Marine Cen-ter for Tampa Bay Watch is located at 3000 Pinellas Bay-way S. in Tierra Verde, just west of the Fort Desoto Cswy toll booth.
For people with a sense of adventure and interest in the environment, Tampa Bay Watch offers tandem kayak trips around the bay to observe oyster beds, bird rookeries, sea grass beds and mangrove forests. It's a great day on the water for families. For more information, call 727-867-8166.
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