Boiled seafood is a staple in many Louisiana homes, and a great cultural tie to the bounty of resources our estuary provides. Eaten by residents and the thousands of tourists who visit Louisiana ever year, millions of pounds of crawfish, crabs, and shrimp are eaten every year in Louisiana. That’s a lot of seafood!
But are we responsibly disposing of our seafood peelings? Many people dump seafood waste into our waterways, but this can lead to serious issues for our water bodies and their inhabitants.
What’s the big deal about improper disposal of peelings?
Dumping seafood peelings and boil water into our waterways can have multiple negative effects such as:
Dissolved Oxygen – Decomposition of organic matter, like seafood waste, can alter the physical and chemical quality of surface and groundwater. As the waste decomposes, our waterways become depleted of dissolved oxygen.
Pathogens – Added waste in our waterways can add and spread pathogens, and ultimately lead to disease in our wild fish.
Nutrient Overload – Dumping nitrogen rich waste, like seafood peelings, adds nutrients into the water that can lead to algae blooms, and ultimately, eutrophication. When these large blooms decompose, the process removes oxygen from the water, creating a fish kill.
How to properly dispose of seafood peelings and boil water
Next time you’re enjoying a seafood boil, remember to discard of your peelings in a responsible manner:
The best and easiest route of disposal of peelings is directly in the trash.
If you own your own property, you can also dig a hole to drop peelings in, and refill the hole.
When you’re ready to pour out your boil water, consider your sewage system:
If you’re on the city sewage system, remove all solids and pour your boil water down a regular sink drain.
If you’re not on the city sewage system, you can pour your boil water into a grassy or weeded area that is away from any bayou, ditch, or body of water.
Be sure to never pour your boil water down a street storm drain, as this water drains straight to our bayous and other water bodies in our estuary without being treated.
Remember, next time you’re enjoying a Louisiana boil:
- DO NOT throw your seafood peelings back into the water.
- DO NOT pour your boil water down a street storm drain or into waterways.
- DO enjoy one of the many resources of our beautiful estuary!