Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says he will sign an oyster shell recycling bill.
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. However, the oyster population in the Chesapeake 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 Thursday to regulate shark-fin harvesting and give farmers more certainty about how Chesapeake Bay restoration regulations will affect them.