BARNEGAT BAY - The American Littoral Society is hoping to grow a new oyster colony in the Barnegat Bay. The bay used to contain 12,000 acres of oyster reefs, however, today only half an acre remains.

Dr. Christine Thompson, a biologist and oyster expert with the American Littoral Society, is hoping to get the new colony started.

"The idea is to have them protected, and then they're going to go big," says Thompson. "And in about a month, we're going to take them out to our reef on Good Luck Point." 

The baby oysters are only the size of a grain of sand, but are currently able to swim.

"They are ready to become adults, but in order to do that, they need a hard shell to set on," Thompson says.

Capt. Al Modjeski is Program Director of Habitat Restoration, and he says that the bay is dying.

"The water quality is not as good as it could be, and this is because of some of the stress put on it by the human built environment," he says.

Oyster habitats worldwide have decreased by 85 percent, according to experts.

The hope is that the oysters will help restore the bay, by building a reef. Each oyster will filter 50 gallons of water daily. Their survival means other species can thrive, including humans.

The baby oysters will be moved into the bay next month once they are a little older and more able to defend against predators.