Native oysters have been fished in Lough Swilly since the 19th Century. Maps were already drawn in the early 1900s defining the distribution of the beds. Since the 1980s Pacific oysters have also be cultured on trestles in the Lough and these have now naturalised. A commercial fishery for Pacific oysters has occurred in the Lough since 2014 which has reduced the expansion in biomass of this species but it is still the dominant species in some areas. Although both species co-exist significant spat fall of native oysters occur on Pacific oysters which are removed by the fishery and growth of native oysters is expected to be limited due to competition for food and space with highly productive Pacific oysters.
The project aims to further reduce the biomass of Pacific oysters and to encourage native oyster settlement onto cultch in areas free of Pacific oysters. The project is in its initial stage.