Mass Oyster to Host Screening of Shellshocked: Saving oysters to Save Ourselves in the North
End on Wednesday July 18 at 6:30
SHELLSHOCKED: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves
follows efforts to prevent the extinction of wild oyster reefs, which keep our
oceans healthy by filtering water and engineering ecosystems. Today, because of
overfishing and pollution, wild oyster reefs have been declared 'the most
severely impacted marine habitat on Earth' and no longer play a role in their
ecosystems. Now scientists, government officials, artists and environmentalists
are fighting to bring oysters back.
While the film is based in NY, the lessons and issues are
directly applicable to Massachusetts harbors and estuaries, many of which once
held significant oyster populations, perhaps most notably the State’s most
urban harbor, Boston.
The New York Academy of Sciences
hosted a panel discussion led by
award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin,
with some of the key players in the New
York oyster restoration movement. There also was a special presentation by
aquaculture students from the New York Harbor School on their oyster restoration
work. New York City has long been renowned as the capital of finance, fashion,
advertising and media. But New York like Boston/Massachusetts once hosted a
large oyster industry.
The oyster was a daily reminder to New Yorkers that they lived on a bustling,
productive estuary. But oysters were subsequently wiped out by pollution,
dredging, disease, and over-consumption in the early 20th
century. In Boston, the oysters in the Charles River Basin came to an end in the late 1800's. There was oyster harvesting continuing in the Mystic well into the 20th century.
More recently, however, thanks to a movement of environmentalists,
educators, historians, and locavores, New Yorkers are beginning to reconnect to
their water-bound past, and the symbol of this reconnection is the eastern
In 2003, the New York Harbor School
opened as the city's first public high
school with a curriculum focused exclusively on the local marine environment.
With dozens of partners, the Harbor School has made the restoration of the
local oyster population to self-sustaining levels the centerpiece of its unique
marine science and technology curriculum.