By Carl Lobue

As the Sr. Marine Scientist for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Carl LoBue was struggling with how to effectively communicate alarming scientific findings concerning the health of Long Island’s waters to Long Island’s residents and public servants.  So in 2015 he partnered with Patchogue based Red Vault Productions and together they enlisted a dozen Long Islanders to tell their own stories on film.  The results are a visually stunning series of 4 minute personal narratives that provide motivation to protect and restore astounding places that are uniquely Long Island.


Half-shell Holidays by Carl LoBue


Many families, including mine, will be enjoying fish and shellfish this holiday season.  Some recipes and traditions have been passed on for generations.  Whatever your recipes are, I believe that the winter is when Long Island clams and oysters are most delicious.

Although Long Island has centuries of shellfish history, over the last decade we have witnessed what is hopefully just the beginning of a shellfish renaissance via aquaculture.  The rise of small entrepreneurial oyster farms in several Long Island bays is akin to the recent surge of small Long Island microbreweries.  And just like Long Island’s fantastic home-grown beer, I encourage all my friends to seek out locally grown oysters this holiday season.

From an environmental perspective, when done the right way, shellfish aquaculture is not only compatible with the environment, it can actually be beneficial, particularly in places where wild shellfish populations have dramatically declined.   In addition, shellfish farmers need clean water, and thus many have become champions of efforts aimed at reducing nitrogen and taking other steps to clean up our local water bodies.

The farmers themselves can speak to this better than me.  Check out this story about Montauk Oyster Company, an oyster farm in one of Long Island’s most iconic places.