The use of discarded adult oyster shells is key to nurturing young populations.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says he will sign legislation to promote the recycling of oyster shells. The bill provides a dollar a bushel tax credit for empty oyster shells, up to $750 a year.
Oyster shells collected from processors, restaurants and others are needed for restoration efforts because young oysters raised in hatcheries prefer to attach to adult oyster shells, which are in short supply.
Oysters are a key species in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts because the filter-feeders help improve water quality. The oyster population in the Chesapeake, however, is at less than one percent of the level found when European settlers arrived.
The governor's office says O'Malley will also sign bills to regulate shark-fin harvesting and give farmers more certainty about how Chesapeake Bay restoration regulations will affect them.