While eating fewer animal products can have a positive impact on the environment, not everyone is ready to go 100 percent vegan for the sake of the Earth. If you're a seafood lover, you can feel good indulging in some local oysters knowing that those delectable treats benefit our oceans.
Oysters are natural filter feeders. According to data published in Integrative and Comparative Biology, "Filter-feeding species are effective biofilters and can naturally lessen disease risk to humans and wildlife." Essentially, they help keep our water sources clean.
According to Ashley Zalabak, Educator at the South Carolina Aquarium, "One single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day." She also explained on their website that "oysters help create a natural barrier in the salt marsh, preventing erosion from occurring. Salt marshes are typically nurseries for small organisms and oysters play a vital role in this."
Zalabak noted that it's important to remember to recycle any oyster shells after enjoying them, as the hard surface of an oyster provides a shelter and habitat for small animals like crabs and other oysters. She also noted that choosing local oysters are your best-bet.
Oysters nourish themselves by eating plankton and not fish. Therefore, you don't have to worry about oysters playing a role in depleting the wild fish population.