Murray Fisher

Chair, Billion Oyster Project

Billion Oyster Project is on a mission to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives. Since its founding in 2014, Billion Oyster Project has planted 28 million oysters, engaging 6,000+ students, 9,000+ volunteers, and 70+ NYC restaurant partners who have donated 1,000,000+ pounds of shells.


Imagine New York Harbor as full of life as a tropical rainforest. It once was. Not only was New York City  considered the oyster capital of the world, but thousands of marine species, from dolphins to seals to herring to scallops, were a regular part of the rhythms and beauty of what is now known as the East and  Hudson Rivers. That changed after the start of the industrial revolution—by 1906, New York Harbor was nearly lifeless.


Now oyster reefs can be part of the solution to returning the city to what it once was—a rich, diverse,  and abundant estuary. Oyster reefs provide habitat for thousands of marine species, filter water, and  can help shield NYC shorelines from storm damage. We want to help our communities use oyster reefs to rebuild the Harbor’s complex ecosystem and then help them reap the benefits of the new opportunities for work, education, and recreation that will be created by a rejuvenated Harbor. Ocean  planning empowers us to work efficiently and cost effectively to help our communities grow—both on  shore and in the harbor.


New York Harbor is one of the busiest and commercially important waterways in the world. The Port of  New York and New Jersey handles about 80 million metric tons of cargo valued at almost $200 billion every year, so communicating with our neighbors is imperative. Access to regional ocean data portals with all the data in one location from shipping lanes to other economically and ecologically important  areas and habitats is essential. This information helps us understand how other stakeholders are using  the harbor. As a result, we are able to site optimal locations to plant oyster beds without interfering with any other ocean user.


The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a maritime high-school located on Governors Island, is  the flagship school of Billion Oyster Project, and its students play an important role in Billion Oyster  Project—growing oysters, designing and building reef structures, diving to monitor reefs, operating boats, performing marine biology research, and more.

Sector: ,


Similar Voices of Support

Aquaculture Connecticut

Bren Smith

Executive Director and Co-founder, GreenWave

Recreational Fishing

Tom Raftican

President, The Sportfishing Conservancy


Gary Gysin

President and CEO, Liquid Robotics®

Ports, Maritime & Shipping New York

Eric Johansson

Professor of Marine Transportation, SUNY Maritime

Commercial Fishing Maine

Rebecca Clark Uchenna

Marine Programs Associate, Island Institute

Aquaculture Virginia

Chris Ludford

Oyster Farmer and Owner, Pleasure House Oysters

Recreational Fishing New York

Capt. John McMurray

Owner, One More Cast Charters, Inc.

Conservation New York

Jon Forrest Dohlin

VP and Director, WCS New York Aquarium

Ports, Maritime & Shipping

Sean Kline

Director of Marine Affairs, Chamber of Shipping of America

Ports, Maritime & Shipping Connecticut

North Atlantic Ports Association

Commercial Fishing New York

Sean Barrett

Fishermen, Conservationist, Restaurateur & Co-Founder, Dock to Dish

Conservation New Jersey

Helen Henderson

Atlantic Coast Program Manager, American Littoral Society

Commercial Fishing New York

Bianca Piccillo & Mark Usewicz

Founder, Mermaid's Garden Sustainable Seafood

Tourism and Recreation New York

Arthur H. Kopelman, Ph.D.

President, Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island

Conservation Delaware

Matt Gove

Mid-Atlantic Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation

Renewable Energy

Liz Burdock

Executive Director, Business Network for Offshore Wind

Commercial Fishing

John Williamson

Sea Keeper Fishery Consulting

"Building on the cultural heritage of our commercial fishing industry"
Aquaculture Maine

Hugh Cowperthwaite

Fisheries Project Director, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

"Financing the future of our coastal economy"
Tourism and Recreation New York

Paul Sieswerda

Executive Director, Gotham Whale

"Connecting urban coast and wild ocean"
Conservation Maine

Brian Marcaurelle

Program Director, Maine Island Trail Association

"Protecting the wild islands of coastal Maine"
Ports, Maritime & Shipping

Jason Kelly

Executive Vice President, Moran Shipping Agencies, Inc.

"Largest independent steamship agency in North America"
Aquaculture Rhode Island

Cindy West

Owner, Cedar Island Oyster Farm

"Family owned and operated"
Aquaculture Connecticut

Bob Rheault

Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association

"Growing opportunities for shellfish growers"
Aquaculture Rhode Island

Bill Silkes

Owner, American Mussel Harvesters, Inc.

"Providing renewable protein resources while balancing multiple ocean uses"
Ports, Maritime & Shipping

Carleen Lyden-Kluss

Executive Director & Co-Founder, NAMEPA

"Shipping industry leader preserving the marine environment"

Why We Need Ocean Planning

The ocean and coasts are active places, and we’re putting more demands on them every day. Think about it: traditional uses such as fishing, boating, shipping, recreation, and tourism are all changing and expanding, and at the same time we’re pioneering new industries alongside them like wind energy and sand mining. Ocean planning is about thinking ahead and planning for how to make it all work. Otherwise, we put the ocean’s vast, yet fragile, resources at risk. Voluntary ocean planning allows us to coordinate all these uses in a way that benefits our economy, our communities, and ocean health. Ocean planning is a science-based and data-driven process that provides a tool for people and government to work together, share information and solve problems in a way that works for everyone. Ocean planning helps to identify and resolve potential conflicts early on, helping decision makers and stakeholders in both the private and public sectors do their jobs better. This creates better outcomes for everyone, supporting a healthy ocean and vibrant economy

Learn More