The 10 Best Documentaries About Oysters

Nov 20, 2023 | Best Of, Nature

Oysters are a mysterious and fascinating creature that have captivated people for centuries. From lush oyster beds in the open ocean to secret underground tunnels, there’s something special about them. The surge of interest in the oyster’s world has spurred numerous documentaries over the years that explore their unique habitats, culture, and lives. To help you find the perfect documentary to watch, we’ve created a list of the best documentaries about oysters. From acclaimed films that bring together stunning visuals and powerful storytelling, to fun and lighthearted documentaries that introduce you to the world of oysters; you’ll find something for everyone on this list! So come join us as we take a deep dive into the amazing world of these fascinating creatures.


1. The Mysteries of the Oyster

Oysters, a delicacy that has been enjoyed for tens of thousands of years. Dating back to the Neolithic Age, people have harvested them as a source of food since they first appeared on our planet 200 million years ago. Traces found in fossils prove this fact and show how long people have been gathering these delicious mollusks.


2. The Big Oyster

New York Harbor was once a paradise of vibrant aquatic animals and birds, with an abundance of oysters. But centuries of human-generated pollution had devastated the area, leaving it polluted and unable to sustain life. Fortunately, a team of architects, restaurateurs, scientists and high school students have come together to mount a heroic effort to restore the harbor and protect New York City from the dangers of climate change.


3. The World’s Perfect Pearl

Pearls have long been coveted for their beauty and rarity. Not only are they a symbol of class, elegance, and luxury, but they also carry with them an air of mystery. From its discovery in the depths of the ocean to its transformation into breathtaking jewelry pieces, there is something special about pearls that has made it a prized possession throughout history.


4. The Blue Point Oyster

This is an inspiring documentary that delves into the restoration and improvement of the Great South Bay. Located on Long Island, this area was once a thriving oyster habitat. This film chronicles The Town of Islip’s efforts to rejuvenate the bay by using shellfish production as a means of improving water quality.


5. Finding Rare Oysters in the English Mud Lands

Griff Rhys Jones embarks on an exploration of the fascinating and varied terrain of Britain. Along his journey, he uncovers interesting facts about different ways of life, work and leisure activities across the whole country. On his quest for the elusive Colchester native Oyster, Griff takes a trip to the Suffolk and Essex estuaries. He discovers how these vast estuary systems have shaped the development of fishing, farming and aquaculture in the region. He also discovers the history behind Colchester’s famous Oyster fishery, a tradition steeped in culture and brimming with stories. Griff is fascinated by this unique environment and its contribution to British life, from generations past to present.


6. Oyster Heaven

This is a documentary about oysters, takes viewers on an enlightening journey of the oyster’s incredible history. From its humble beginnings as an essential food source for Native Americans to the “oyster boom” of 1900s when Connecticut was one of the largest producers in the world dives deep into this bivalves past. We also explore the fall of the industry caused by overfishing and water pollution, as well as its subsequent rebound. The documentary features an array of unique characters from a grizzled boat skipper to a young female oyster hatchery manager. We follow them through their daily lives on the waterfront.


7. Amazing Oyster Mass Production Process

Have you ever wondered how oysters are harvested on such a large scale? South Korea is renowned for its incredible achievements in oyster farming, and takes an inside look at the mass production of oysters. The documentary focuses on the farmers who tend to the oyster beds, with each farmer employing a unique set of techniques. From traditional harvesting methods like handpicking and diving for oysters, to more modern approaches including the use of dredging machines, viewers get an up-close look at how these farms operate in Korea.


8. Common Ground: Saving the Chesapeake’s Oysters

The Chesapeake Bay is known for its abundance of marine life, from dolphins and whales to oysters. But the oysters are in danger due to overharvesting, poor water quality, and disease. This documentary follows it, an avid oyster enthusiast who works to protect the bay’s oyster population. Through her work  hopes to save this keystone species that serves as an integral part of the Chesapeake’s ecosystem.


9. The Remarkable Journey of Oysters

Oysters need the changing tides of the ocean to develop their unique flavor profile. It is the work of their farmers, deeply connected to their cultural heritage and environment, that helps them survive. During the 19th century, oysters were an accessible source of protein in New York’s oyster saloons. They were enjoyed by both high society patrons and working-class citizens alike. However, as the city rapidly grew, so did the depletion of oysters and their role as natural water filterers in rivers, bays, and estuaries began to diminish. With the help of dedicated farmers, these creatures are now making a comeback and becoming more widely available than ever before.


10. Land & Sea: Oysters

From the historical and traditional to the new and innovative, It takes viewers on an in-depth exploration of oysters. This documentary highlights the important roles that oysters play in our environment and dives into their unique cultural significance across a wide variety of different cultures.


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David B