Oysters on the half shell are a classic summer delicacy. But in many places, including the U.S. East Coast, the oyster population is declining because of overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to protect the ecosystems around Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
Now, those oysters are getting some help from CMA CGM, the French container shipping company whose U.S. headquarters are located in Norfolk, Virginia. CMA CGM recently announced that it had joined the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, a broad coalition of over 75 partner organizations in Maryland and Virginia that is working toward adding 10 billion new oysters to the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.
CMA CGM says it will support the planting of 5.5 million of these oysters on newly constructed reefs, as part of an effort to preserve water quality and biodiversity in the bay. As for how shellfish fit into the water-quality picture, it turns out that oysters, in addition to being delicious, provide critical purification by filtering water as they feed. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. On top of that, oyster reefs provide habitat to more than 300 species and help stabilize shorelines, according to the company.
“CMA CGM is proud to play a role in this important initiative to help restore the ecosystem and biodiversity of the largest estuary in the U.S.,” Heather Wood, CMA CGM’s director of sustainability for North America, said in a release. “The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is doing incredible work in conservation, and we are fully mobilized to help them reach their goal of planting 10 billion oysters in the bay by 2025. This operation also highlights the commitment of the CMA CGM Group and its staff members to protect biodiversity.”