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“Nationals October 2019

Aw, Shucks! It’s National Oyster Weekend August 5-7

| July 28, 2022, 04:55 PM

There’s a whole lot of shucking and slurping going on at the restaurants of The Irish Restaurant Company. From half-shell to Rockefeller, oyster lovers can satisfy their appetites while resting assured that leftover shells will be returned to the Chesapeake Bay to help rebuild the oyster population. With National Oyster Weekend approaching (August 5-7, 2022), executive chef Steve Hardison is preparing a special feature at each restaurant for this annual event, while celebrating the restaurant company’s successful recycling efforts to help rebuild oyster reefs. The IRC operates Galway Bay Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar in downtown Annapolis, Brian Boru Irish Pub in Severna Park, Killarney House Irish Restaurant & Pub in Davidsonville, and Pirates Cove Restaurant & Dock Bar in Galesville.

Last year, Galway Bay alone shucked 39 ½ bushels of oyster shells as a member of the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s Shell Recycling Alliance. Those shells will support the planting of 197,740 oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Killarney House recycled 14.45 bushels in 2021 (supporting the planting of 72,240 oysters), contributing to the Alliance’s annual collection, which includes 225 restaurants, caterers, grocery stores and services. Pirates Cove and Brian Boru recycle as well, working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to support their oyster reef restoration efforts. In 2021, Pirates Cove donated a whopping 99.5 bushels of oyster shells to the CBF, with Brian Boru donating 17.5 bushels.

“Oysters are one of those local favorites that are a must for the menu. Our customers love them, but serving fresh oysters depends on sustainability,” says Anthony Clarke, co-owner of the Irish Restaurant Company. “By partnering with environmental groups to recycle shells, we can help improve future harvests, and our watermen can continue delivering fresh oysters for our customers.”

Oysters are known for their remarkable efficiency in filtering water. According to the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s website, one healthy oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day. The more oysters in the Bay, the cleaner the water. To help increase the population, groups like the Shell Recycling Alliance take shell that would otherwise go into landfills, clean it, treat it with baby oysters and return it to the Chesapeake Bay to grow.

The result is a healthier environment for aquatic plants and marine life — including the beloved oyster — to grow and thrive. It’s a strategy that not only supports a healthy ecosystem, but also improves the harvest for local watermen, restaurants and seafood lovers all around the Bay.

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