Friday, December 14, 2007

More Oysters, Please

Roger Williams College, in Rhode Island, is working on restoring oysters to Narragansett Bay, and for good reason, the Providence Journal reports:

He likens oysters to powerful little water filters that clean more than 50 gallons of water a day, straining out the particles they feed on and depositing the rest at the bottom of rivers, salt ponds and estuaries. This reduces the turbidity of water, which allows more sunlight to support aquatic life, which bolsters fisheries, including habitat for lobster and winter flounder....

In theory, oysters could be deployed to highly polluted waters for the express purpose of filtration, Patterson said.

However, Rhode Island aquaculturists haven’t been aggressive about that so far because they worry about people eating oysters harvested from dirty water, he said.

Nonetheless, over the long term, the program hopes to make a visible impact on water quality in Narragansett Bay.

“If we can get a gazillion of these things out there filtering, within our lifetime — and I like to think we’re young — we should begin to see a difference,” Patterson said.



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