The Massachusetts Oyster Project has successfully transferred 60,000 juvenile oysters into local North Shore estuaries to end its first season, according to a press release.
The oysters had been placed in a tank at Maritime Gloucester on Harbor Loop over the summer. Water from Gloucester Harbor was pumped into the tank, called an upweller, where the oysters cleansed the water as they fed on plankton.
After growing from 1-5 millimeters — the size of red pepper flakes — in July to 10-20 mm — the size of dimes and nickels — by November, the oysters were distributed to estuaries in Ipswich, Essex, and Gloucester to continue multiplying and cleaning the water, according to the volunteer organization.
An oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, improving water quality and contributing to more resilient coastal ecosystems, according to the Massachusetts Oyster Project.
The organization estimates over 5,000 students and 20,000 visitors saw the tank at the museum.
“This effort was incredibly successful and we plan to replicate and expand the program in coming years,” Massachusetts Oyster Project President Jennifer Filiault said in a statement.