Oysters were such a popular food item in New York in the 19th century that the shells were actually used to pave Pearl Street in New York City. They were also used for lime for the masonry of the Trinity Church.


The Oyster Divers introduces a group of baymen who hand pick wild oysters in Long Island Sound. The practice of handpicking native oysters is very rare. The majority of oysters we eat are grown in farms on the surface of the water. Other wild oyster practices include 'raking', which involves dragging a rake along the sea floor, creating larger scale, and often unseen damage and disturbance.

The Heroes of the Ocean

By handpicking the oysters, not only are the divers able to choose the correct size (over 3 inches), thereby leaving the younger, underdeveloped oysters to grow, they also cause only a minor disturbance to the surrounding habitat. Oysters are also well known to clean and filter the ocean, and several US harbor cities, including New York and Boston, have programs to reintroduce oysters to the waters in an effort to reduce pollution and encourage healthier habitats. In the part of the Long Island Sound where the film is set, the water is some of the cleanest on the Northeast coast. The presence of oysters plays a big part in that. Shot in collaboration with Empire Oyster and NY Oyster Week co-founder Kevin Joseph, featuring music by Nils Frahm and The American Dollar.