LA: Wait, describe these nooks to me. They sound so magical.
ZN: [laughs] If you picture Miller's Point, she's got these beautiful boulders and she's just got a large portion of pajama sharks, and you can also get gully sharks. So, it's a good shark spot, but it's also a place where people are allowed to spearfish and fish. So, it's got a different kind of energy to maybe a [inaudible 00:14:35], which is a protected space, and the protected spaces naturally have more life. But then, you see something like Smitswinkel, which is hard to get to.
You have to hike down, and then you get through these rocks, and then you eventually get to this place, and to access the ocean, you have to jump in at the right time, and- so that you don't break your bones over the rocks. But whatever it is that you forage in the water, you can bring it up, and you sit in this cave and- and have a little fire, and have food, and it's just these beautiful nooks that are pristine and magical.
LA: What sort of things are your foraging?
ZN: So, we forage urchins, kelp, fish. So, if someone's spearfishing, we can get some fish as well to make ceviche. Ooh, [inaudible 00:15:29], periwinkle.
LA: This all sounds so good.
ZA: Yeah. We can-
LA: You're describing, like, my dream lunch. Are you spearfishing?
ZN: We love- Yes. We love to forage. So, I'm not a great spearfisherwoman, but we do love to forage. Get a little bit of urchins, get a big of [inaudible 00:15:45], a little bit of kelp, little bit of everything, and you make a nice salad on land. You know which urchin is good, by its color. Right? The last thing you're trying to do is poison yourself. It's also just the most different taste you can imagine.
LA: Coming up, foraging for shellfish isn't exclusive to the sunny beaches of Cape Town. In New York Harbor, there used to be a thriving oyster population until it was all but wiped out by things like shore erosion and pollution. But one project is bringing them back through reforestation, seeding oyster beds, and encouraging school students to join the effort.
Ann Fraioli: My name is Ann Fraioli. I am the Director of Education at Billion Oyster Project. Billion Oyster Project got off the ground in 2014. We are restoration practitioners who are growing oysters, getting permits, getting oyster structures and baby oysters into the water. We have an entire department that is dedicated to engaging the community and getting community scientists involved with both monitoring oysters, monitoring water quality, and then we have, what I focus on, which is the education work and making sure that we're getting teachers and students involved in our work, all throughout New York City.
Oysters are a very integral part of New York City's history. They're back- you know, we always use the marker of the 1600s, before Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson- the now-named Hudson River. So, if you imagine that period of time, there were tens of thousands of acres of oysters in New York Harbor, and it was not only a keystone species for the ecology of New York Harbor, but it was an incredibly important part of human life in New York City, and that goes from native populations, like the Lenni Lenape, that made New York City their home, and, you know, used oysters as an important food source, to early colonists that came and profited off of oysters.