Project Aim: Restoration Aquaculture - Sustainable cultivation & restoration
Native Oysters have shaped the entire coastline of Jersey. Numerous harbours and beach access slipways were constructed in the 19th century to service the massive industry. Marine historian Doug Ford has estimated that 2,250 million oysters were exported to England within a twenty-year period.
In 2010 Tony Legg of Jersey Sea Farms also based at Green Island trialled Native Oysters in an attempt to overcome the challenges of OSHV1 in Pacific Oysters. These were grown in his specially designed ORTAC oyster containers. The results were unexpectedly successful with the movement of the units and the shelter from direct sunlight overcoming the mortalities experienced in oyster bag culture trials elsewhere.
Jersey Sea Farms has chosen to create a genuine restoration aquaculture approach. This involves retaining the oysters in culture for four rather than three years, this allows them to achieve premium 0++ sizes and during the final growing season release major volumes of viable larvae to settle on the vast historically productive beds to the East of Jersey.
Recently, marine tour guides have begun reporting that, where at one time native oysters were very occasionally seen and normally as very large and ancient ‘pieds du cheval’, there are now numerous new recruits appearing.