Olympia oysters are the only native oyster found in Puget Sound and along the Washington Coast. While they were once plentiful along shorelines, their populations have seen steep declines over the past 100 years due to overharvesting, competition with non-native shellfish, and water quality issues. Tribes, restoration groups, the shellfish industry, and state agencies have been working together to bring back the Olympia oyster. Finding and acquiring oyster shells is one big piece of the puzzle to help rebuild Olympia oyster reefs.
For Tribes and groups like The Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), Olympia oyster restoration begins with collecting adult oysters from the Sound, allowing the adults to spawn in the hatchery, collecting and rearing oyster larvae, and then either allowing the larvae to settle on shells as they would in nature or raising the larvae into single oysters.