Group supplies oysters on rope for water filtration | News, Sports, Jobs

On Saturday, May 21, Florida Fishery Foundation President George Halper got together with Matlacha Scouts to collect oyster shells from restaurants like the Lazy Flamingo and Miceli to help keep local waters clean.

“We drill a hole and run a rope through it. We tie a knot about every three or four inches, so we have an oyster chain,” Halper said. “We tie the rope to the docks and lift it just above the bottom. It structured to fish immediately. Because oysters are clean, it’s a clean substrate. The baby oysters, called spat, now have something to hold on to. In about a year or two, each of these oyster shells will contain between 4 and 40 oysters. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. »

Each live oyster, he said, takes about a year to mature and filters up to 50 gallons of water a day. In about two years, he predicts that more than 20 million gallons of water per year will be treated by this natural filtration system.

Halper said this system is a better use of the shells than dumping them in a landfill, adding that it provides wonderful structure for snook, snapper and various other fish.

“It’s eco-friendly – it’s like a fish-magnet,” Halper said. “You put them under the docks and now these fish have a place to hide.

The Florida Fishery Foundation gang and local scouts with oysters on rope filters ready to go. PHOTO PROVIDED BY GEORGE HALPER

“If anyone wants one, we’re not for profit. We give them. If you have a saltwater dock, contact us and we’ll give you one or two to hang on your dock. We are looking for other restaurants that will save us their oyster.

Oysters are one of the most prolific breeders on the planet, Halper said, with females capable of having up to 20 million eggs and males carrying sperm in the billions.

“One of the issues we’re having right now is that manatees are starving because there’s not enough photosynthesis with turtle grass, so that will help with turtle grass as well. is not just to clean up the water basins – it’s many times over. We’ve lost 85% of the world’s oyster population, due to overexploitation and pollution,” Halper said.

Going forward, Halper said he is planning school presentations, with the goal of educating young people about the effort. They are currently looking for volunteers to drive the truck.

For more information on oysters on a rope project, please visit

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