It’s time to celebrate seafood – and CT Grown has got the goods!
Chilled oysters on the half shell, lobster tails bathed in warm butter, sizzling scallops wrapped in bacon – the salty waters of Long Island Sound give us so many delicacies. October is National Seafood Month, the perfect time to enjoy delicious, locally caught or raised seafood.
Connecticut is home to a thriving aquaculture industry. More than 70,000 acres of shellfish farms are under cultivation in our local waters, producing a stunning 450,000 bushels of hard clams and 200,000 bushels of oysters annually.
Fish and shellfish are loaded with protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. Oysters in particular are a superhero shellfish! As a food source, they pack a micronutrient powerhouse of Vitamin D, copper, zinc, and manganese. And they clean our coastal waters by filtering pollutants like nitrogen and sediments. One single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water – the size of a bathtub – every day! In addition, natural oyster reefs prevent coastline erosion by mitigating influxes from storms and tides – which protects homes and property.
Unfortunately, oyster habitats are among the most diminished and endangered on Earth, with 85% to 90% of wild reefs lost over the past century. But there is good news. Connecticut has a strong history – dating back to the 1800s – of building partnerships between industry and government to successfully conserve natural oyster beds. Because of this legacy, Connecticut ranks among the top 10 states in the country for clam and oyster production. And right now, a powerful coalition of state and federal agencies is taking serious steps to further increase and safeguard the future of our native bivalve populations. They are developing resources to help scientists and other stakeholders pinpoint the best locations for shellfish restoration and understand the optimal conditions for shellfish to thrive.
Restoring Connecticut’s shellfish populations can support the state’s growing shellfish industry, protect communities along the shoreline, and improve the coastal marine environment.
You can help these efforts by purchasing from local growers. Visit CTGrown.org to find a seafood market near you.
When nights get frosty, turn to shellfish stews, soups, bakes and broils for evening flavor: