The return of oyster season means the state will again collect and recycle empty shells from backyard oyster roasts and other feasts.
The state Division of Marine Fisheries collected oyster, clam, conch and mussel shells at 126 drop-off centers, including several in Durham, Orange, Johnston and Wake counties. The shells are returned to coastal waters, where they serve as habitat for fish and shellfish.
Since the recycling program began in the fall of 2003, more than 120,000 bushels of shells have been collected.
Area drop-off centers include the Orange County Landfill, the Johnston County Landfill, four Durham County Recycling Centers and a dozen county trash sites in Wake County.
For a full list and more information, go to www.ncfisheries.net/shellfish/recycle1.htm or call 800-682-2632.