Louisiana oyster beds recovering after storms, oil spill

A Louisiana National Guard blackhawk flies over marshland on April 19, 2011 in route to Middle Ground in southern Louisiana.  (John Moore, Getty Images)
A Louisiana National Guard blackhawk flies over marshland on April 19, 2011 in route to Middle Ground in southern Louisiana. (John Moore, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/24 3:11 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Restaurants and seafood industry officials in Louisiana are recycling oyster shells in hopes of revitalizing what dealers say is a depleted Gulf of Mexico harvest.

State officials said Tuesday they don't have current figures on the size of recent harvests, but dealers in New Orleans and Houma say production is down. One said he's even had to import oysters to meet demand for oyster po-boys and oyster soup.

Dealers say there are multiple possible reasons for the lower production, including hurricanes in recent years and the BP oil spill of 2010.

The recycling program, organized by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, returns shucked oyster shells to coastal waters to help revitalize public oyster seed areas. The shells will also be used as material in coastal restoration projects.

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