Bring yourself and bring your boat to Ocean Gate, NJ on Thursday, July 27. On that day at 11 a.m. we will be holding a parade of boats to ferry our oyster babies to their new home in the Barnegat Bay. Participants should gather at the Wildwood Avenue Pier for this event.
There will be microscopes and marine scientists available to help you see and understand the life cycle of oysters, their history in New Jersey waters, and why our bays and estuaries would benefit from their restoration. But the guests of honor will be the oyster babies that have been growing in our spat tank on the Wildwood Avenue pier since July 10.
The tank is full of shells to which the babies attach and begin to grow into oysters. Larvae that are attached to shell are called spat. That new home is a reef the Littoral Society restored in 2015 off Good Luck Point in Barnegat Bay.
The oyster nursery and reef are part of Operation Oyster, a Littoral Society project aimed at putting oysters back into New Jersey's bays and tidal estuaries. Decades of pollution, accelerated by rampant development, have decimated New Jersey's natural oyster population. Oysters help keep water clean and and oyster reefs help protect the coastline. They are nature's water filters, each one is able to clean up to 50 gallons of water a day. Oyster reefs also serve as speed bumps for waves during storms.