Dan Hoover wants to recycle fish guts and crab shells andndash; and save the Port of Brookings-Harbor a little money on the side.

The port's outside operations manager believes local gardeners might want what fishermen discard at the port's fish-cleaning operation on Lower Harbor Drive.

"We have to pay to get rid of it, but if we can get this out to people with small gardens or small flowers, I'd rather see it go to them."

And it's free for the taking.

When the crab season is in full swing, the port can generate two to three garbage cans of guts, bones and shells each day.

Shells and bony fish are high in nitrogen, phosphorus and lime; fish scraps andndash; while shunned by some compost-pile keepers andndash; are rich in nitrogen, trace minerals and calcium.

Local gardener Jerry Holcomb also uses seaweed that, while high in salt content, neutralizes the acidic soil.

Holcomb recommends burying crab shells and fish bones about 2 feet in the ground to prevent animals from reaching it. In about two months, it can be spread throughout the garden.

"One guy said he uses it on his blueberries; it's all he uses," Hoover said. "There's something about it certain people really like. If I was a gardener, I'd be taking it all myself."

To obtain the material, call Hoover at 541-661-4243.