Oysters are remarkable, and this week and all this month, NOAA is celebrating our favorite bi-valve. The agency supports research and policy development to grow sustainable aquaculture in the United States, and oysters play a big role in that sector.
Oysters also provide many benefits to the ecosystem they live in. They are filter feeders—they clean the water as they eat. And they grow in reefs, which provide great habitat for many other species. But in many places, their population has plummeted. One of the main goals is to restore oyster reefs.
About Oyster Species
Some oyster species are native to the United States, while others have been introduced to support shellfish farming.
- The Eastern oyster is the only native oyster on the East Coast of North America. It is found from the Gulf of St. Lawrence around to the Gulf of Mexico, including the Chesapeake Bay.
- The Pacific oyster, introduced from Japan, is a popular West Coast aquaculture species.
Why Are Oyster Reefs So Special?
Oysters help clean the water, and their reefs provide important habitat.
Research Shows Ecosystem, Economic Benefits of Restoration
We have carried out and funded research to quantify the benefits delivered by restored oyster reefs.
The World’s Largest Oyster Restoration Project
The Chesapeake Bay is home to 10 large-scale oyster restoration efforts. Visit this StoryMap to learn how NOAA and partners are working to achieve big goals
How Does Aquaculture Work?
Oysters can be farmed to produce terrific seafood. Farming of oysters supports jobs and sustainable seafood
How Do You Feed and Grow Baby Oysters?
Scientists at the NOAA Fisheries Milford Laboratory have pioneered many of the steps needed to grow baby oysters for aquaculture and other purposes.
Florida Oyster Farmer Boosts Seafood, Ecosystem
Near Florida’s Big Bend, the Pelican Oyster Company provides great seafood—and helps the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Learn how “Salty Bird” oysters play an important role
A Look at Oyster Aquaculture
Oysters are farmed in several different ways. Take a look at a few different methods that all bring this healthy, sustainable seafood to your table