August 06, 2019
Zach Gordon is pursuing a professional science master’s degree in Ocean Food Systems at UNE NORTH: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies.
In his spare time, he travels around Portland collecting oyster shells from the city’s restaurants as part of the Ocean to Plate to Ocean project, conducted by the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Maine Coastal program.
Twice a week, Gordon and Libby Davis, general manager of the Maine Oyster Company, load about 20 large bins with shells and haul them away. The shells are then taken to Ecomaine in South Portland where they remain for a year to ensure all the bacteria on them are dead. The recycled shells are then put into Casco Bay as a way to reduce ocean acidification. Because shells are composed primarily of calcium carbonate, a strong base material, their presence in the ocean reduces the water’s acidity level.
The Ocean to Plate to Ocean project was recently featured in the Portland Press Herald.