March 23, 2019 | 36° F

Oysters to be used in waterway cleanup research

Photo by jacqueline dorey |

Oysters were recently discovered to be able to clean polluted waters. While researchers want to study this effect, those who farm the sea creatures are concerned that polluted oysters may get mixed with ones being sold as food. The former poses a health hazard for consumers.

One particular delicacy may soon be more difficult to find at Red Lobster.

Oysters were recently discovered to have cleansing effects in polluted water, according to a Press of Atlantic City article. One creature can take in and expel 50 gallons of liquid every day.

They are not used to clean large bodies of water yet, but some scientists are considering their use for local rivers, according to the article.

The problem with this is they are also a part of a slowly recuperating industry in oyster farming. While farmed oysters or ones from cleaner waters pose no harm to most consumers, eating oysters from dirty waters would not be good for people.

Farming oysters is a time-consuming process as well. In the 1950s oyster-farming as an industry saw severe drops due to overuse of the areas they grow in, among other reasons, according to Rutgers Magazine.

It took five decades and a new type of oyster, called the “triploid” oyster, to start making advances in helping the industry.

These new oysters are more environmentally-friendly and are better for consumption, said Ximing Guo, a professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and with the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, and the creator of the type.

While they are good for the environment and for the industry, they still take a year to mature, according the magazine.

If a "dirty" oyster is sold with farmed oysters, it may set the industry back again, according to Press of Atlantic City.

In years past oyster farming was also heavily regulated. According to, a local farmer was arrested and had his equipment disposed of by the Department of Environmental Protection. The charges were eventually dropped but the agency is being sued for damages by the farmer.

The organization acknowledged its regulations were outdated, according to

A law allowing scientists to ignore the agency’s regulations on an “experimental” basis was sent to New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie earlier in January, according to

It was signed by the governor shortly after, according to Press of Atlantic City. This bill only affects the oysters being used for waterway cleanup. The hope is they will prove successful in cleaning up waterways.

Nikhilesh De

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