Alabama Marine Resources Division and Partners Recycling Oyster Shells from 2015 Hangout Oyster Cook-Off Event

Gulf Shores, Ala. (Nov. 12, 2015) – The 8th Annual Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, which took place Nov. 6-8, boasted 70 chefs and restaurants preparing more than 60,000 oysters for seafood lovers. And this year, the Alabama Marine Resources Division, City of Gulf Shores, Alabama Gulf Seafood, Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and NUISANCE Group worked together to recycle leftover oyster shells to aid in ongoing oyster restoration efforts.

This marks the first time that a multi-party, organized shell recycling effort has taken place after the conclusion of a Hangout Oyster Cook-Off event. Representatives say recycled shells are nature’s best material to grow new oysters.

“Oyster shells are a very valuable resources, and they belong back in the water – as opposed to a landfill – in order to grow more oysters,” said Chris Blankenship, program administrator for Alabama Seafood and Marketing Commission and director of Alabama Marine Resources. “This is a great start of what we hope will be a much larger effort to engage restaurants in Coastal Alabama to implement a year-round shell recycling program.”

The recent recycling effort was aided by a grant to purchase onsite receptacles at the Hangout Cook-Off event in which festival-goers could dispose of used shells.

“It was exciting to see this many people and multiple organizations working together to do the right thing for the environment,” said Blankenship. “I can’t say enough about the festival volunteers and the City of Gulf Shores Public Works Department.  Without their onsite coordination, this effort would not have been as successful.”

Shells are currently being stored at the Marine Resources Division Artificial Reef Staging Area and will be deployed for oyster restoration projects after six months of seasoning.

For more information on the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Alabama oysters, please visit EatAlabamaSeafood.com.