Once a hotbed for acquaculture, the New York Harbor was dubbed the oyster capital of the world. But now, due to overharvesting, dredging and pollution, NYC oysters are functionally extinct. Enter The New York Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project. The brainchild of Murray Fisher and Peter Malinowski, the project aims to restore oyster beds to a population of one billion live oysters around 100 acres of reefs by the year 2030. The result? Cleaner water, greater biodiversity and reclaiming that rightful title of oyster capital.
Will the oysters be edible? Unfortunately, no. “There are too many persistent pollutants in the harbor,” states Oceana exec chef and BOP chef partner, Ben Pollinger. “But despite the fact that we won’t eat these oysters for several generations, if ever, there is importance in giving a direct and immediate visual of the work oysters do, as well as raising awareness of pollutants.”
While 11,500,000 oysters have been restored, there’s still a long way to go. Here’s how you or organizations you are involved with can help: