Helping with Shells

  • Give Oyster shells a second chance
  • Contribute to life in the North Sea
  • Decrease your carbon footprint

The Pacific and the European flat oyster are a true delicacy for many enthusiasts. These shellfish are fished sustainably, both score green on the VISwijzer and are therefore a sustainable choice. Unfortunately, the consumption of oysters also generates the necessary waste, and shells are often treated as discards. Time for a change! Hence why we have launched the ‘Helping with Shells’ project, together with the World Wildlife Fund, ARK Nature and the Oesterij.

But what exactly do we do with the empty shells? Well, we use them to grow young oysters! In order to grow into adult oysters, oyster larvae need a stable surface to attach to. Oyster shells are ideal for this.

But before the shells can be used for this purpose, they must first be dried in open air for a while. Farmed oyster larvae are then placed on the shells. These shells are then placed in an ‘oyster cradle’ and left in the sea. In the long term, these oyster cradles can form large shellfish reefs which are a source of life in the North Sea!

An oyster cradle made from wire and wood – Ernst Schrijver Ark Nature

Cooperation with restaurants

In order to collect enough empty shells, we are already working together with De Oesterij in Yerseke, restaurant Pure C in Cadzand, Hotel New York in Rotterdam and De Zilte Zeemeermin in Arnhem. As partners in our horeca programme, they collect all their sold oyster shells so that we can use them for nature recovery. In addition, we also support affiliated restaurants in making their menus more sustainable.

What can you do?

Our ambition for this project is to have as many collection partners as possible donate/recycle their shells and thus contribute to the restoration of nature. In 2021, this project is still in a pilot phase with a select number of restaurants. In 2022, we will scale up and aim to increase the number of collection partners.

Are you the owner, employee or regular visitor of a restaurant or fish specialty shop and would you like to help with the collection of shells, so that nature can recover? If so, please contact

Cover photo made by Floor Driessen / Bureau Waardenburg