Currently at SSIA, it’s all about the Oyster. But why? Oysters are vital to the health of our estuarine ecosystem (bet you can’t say that five times fast). They do this by reducing wave erosion, creating habitat for an estimated 300 species of vertebrates/invertebrates, and they have the ability to greatly improve our water quality by removing excess nutrients through the filtering of two to four gallons of water an hour. SSIA believes so strongly in the benefits of the oyster that we have teamed up with the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory/Hatchery and the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program in committed effort to fund the creation of 125 oysters for every homeowner’s policy that we sell.
SSIA Sponsored Oysters
The oysters are spawned in April/May at the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory/Hatchery on Dauphin Island. The volunteer “Gardeners” get the oysters in June/July and suspend them into local waters from various piers and docks where they filter the water as they feed. The oysters are suspended to keep them protected from predatory crabs and oyster drills until they are collected to plant in November. When water temperatures warm the following spring, all of the oysters naturally spawn which generates millions of larvae for the area. The survival rate of larvae is low, but the shear volume allows for a significant recruitment of new oysters. The oysters we sponsor are not harvested for food, although we do enjoy our fair share of oysters each year. Our three-year goal is to fund the creation of enough oysters to filter an estimated 5.9 trillion gallons of water. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all the volunteers and heroes involved in the Oyster Gardening Program as they help us do what we do best, protect the area in which we live.
The areas below in blue show where our dollars are being utilized.
That’s why at SSIA, it’s currently all about the Oyster.