Along the east coast of the United States, particularly through the coastal regions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, are naturally growing oysters. Oysters are critical to sustaining a healthy sea environment and feeding millions of seafood lovers across the world. Oysters grow in large beds through inland waters where they can be seen from the shore or by boat. Here is what you need to know about an oyster bed. 

What Type Of Oyster Grow On Oyster Beds In Georgia, South Carolina, And North Carolina

In the southeastern United States, the Crassostrea Virginica, commonly known as the eastern oyster, is abundant in coastal waters. 

Despite the prevalence of the eastern oyster, the fertile coastal waters are home to oyster farming. In addition to naturally occurring Crassostrea Virginica, farmers grow a plethora of variations that find their way on seafood restaurant menus. 

How Do You Find An Oyster Reef

Eastern oysters grow in large masses beneath the surface and become exposed as the tide falls. Oysters are spotted when walking the shoreline or boating near marsh grass. 

The difference between marsh grass and oyster beds is substantial when locating an oyster reef. 

When spotting oyster reefs, maintain a lookout for brown to jagged white shells above, below, or at the water’s surface. Oyster reefs appear menacing, which they are due to their hard, sharp shells. Avoid walking over or driving watercraft into oysters reefs because of destroying the habitat in addition to injuries to the feet and damage to the boat. 

Oyster reefs grow in clusters that range from a small patch to exceeding the size of a greyhound bus. 

Are Oyster Shells Sharp

Oysters are incredibly sharp and inflict deep wounds when improperly handled. Avoid handling or walking on the shells without protective footwear or gloves when in the vicinity of oyster beds. 

Unfortunately, oysters, particularly during the summer months, hold the bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus. The bacteria enter the skin when cut by an oyster. Avoid becoming cut by wearing protective gear. 

Can You Take Oysters From An Oyster Bed

Oysters are available for harvest by recreational anglers in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

Despite the ability to harvest fresh oysters from the sea, restrictions are in place. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia require anglers to catch oysters in designated zones to prevent overfishing, monitor for bacteria, and maintain healthy environments for aquatic life which inhabits oyster bars. 

Check out the oyster maps in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia

Why Are Oysters So Important To The Ecosystem

Oyster reefs are critical to maintaining a healthy ecosystem in coastal waters worldwide. Here here are how oyster beds support healthy waters. 

Do Oyster Beds Create A Habitat For Marine Life

Oyster reefs are critical at providing habitat for marine life. Oyster beds provide shelter for young and small fish, crabs, and shrimp, which hide among the jagged shells. 

The abundance of baitfish attracts foraging gamefish, including sea trout, sheepshead, redfish, bonnethead sharks, and more. When fishing, consider focusing your attention on oyster reefs. Oyster reefs are home to fish which make excellent table fare. 

Can Oysters Really Filter Water

Maintaining healthy populations of oysters is essential to keep water quality in check. Oysters are excellent at filtering algae. 

The nutrient-rich coastal waters of the southeast are fertile for algae production. Without oysters, algae levels would no longer remain in check. Fortunately, oysters will continue to devour algae rapidly as this is the food source that sustains life for the bivalve. The elimination of algae would decimate the oyster population. 

How Oyster Reefs Protect Shorelines During Storm Conditions

Take into account the shoreline along the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The banks of the shore consist of soft mud and grass, which are easily eroded as stormy conditions approach, including hurricanes. 

The ruggedness of oyster reefs, both in their holding ability and rigid shells, are critical in preventing shoreline erosion. Without oyster beds, the banks would succumb to heavy seas and push the coast further inland with each passing storm. Maintaining healthy populations of oysters is essential to protect our valuable coastline. 

Now You Know The Significance Of Oyster Beds In The Southeast

Oysters play a critical role in our environment, often overlooked by those who dine on the tasty meat contained within the shell. Oyster beds are fundamental in protecting Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina’s coastal waters by preventing erosion, filtering water, and providing habitat for other marine life. The next time you order up oysters on the half shell remember that they are more than just delicious.