The Parsons Oyster Reef Recovery program is the first to establish a living oyster reef on the New Jersey coast.

“Our reef recovery program allows the bay to tell us what we need to be doing in restoration work through the data we collect,” says Dale S. Parsons, program founder.

Oyster Reef Recovery:
Critically important to the health of the bay

Native oyster reefs are “functionally extinct.” According to the American Institute of Biological Sciences*, more than 85 percent of oyster reefs have been lost globally, and native oyster reefs in North America as well as other regions of the world, are “functionally extinct.”

Historically, Barnegat Bay once contained one of the largest known oyster reefs, from Long Island to Delaware Bay. Situated within a thriving estuary, this oyster reef grew vast amounts of oysters from seed to maturity. Over the past 100 years, the natural population of native oysters has diminished to less than one percent of its former abundance in the bay.

Fifth generation Parsons Seafood owner, Dale S. Parsons has a deep understanding of the life of the bay and commitment to its future. Together with a group of equally committed volunteers, he has developed a multi-faceted program that will provide the data needed to help improve the health and future of estuaries globally.

*Oyster Reef at Risk and Recommendation for Conservation, Restoration, and Management. Feb 1, 2011

The documentary “The Oyster Farmers” touches on the Parsons Oyster Reef Recovery program.