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How old oyster shells from restaurants are being used to clean Tampa Bay

Thirty vertical oyster gardens were installed Thursday morning at the dock off of Oystercatchers restaurant in Tampa.

TAMPA – Tampa Bay Watch and Oystercatchers have partnered to install thirty Vertical Oyster Gardens on the pier behind the restaurant in an effort to keep the bay clean and healthy.

The vertical oyster gardens (VOGs) are made of recycled oyster shells from local restaurants, like Oystercatchers. They are suspended from docks to create a hard surface for young oysters to attach to and develop.

According to Tampa Bay Watch, vertical oyster gardens, oyster reef balls, and oyster shell bags are methods they've developed for creating oyster habitats.

Oysters are a food source for birds and fish. Many small fish, crabs, shrimp, and other critters live among the oysters and provide food for large fish and wildlife. Oysters are natural filters, cleaning up to 2-5 gallons of water per hour, according to Tampa Bay Watch.

Video from Tampa Bay's 10