Project Aim: Restoration Aquaculture - Sustainable cultivation & restoration
The Mumbles Oyster Company was formed by Dr Andy Woolmer with the sole purpose of the sustainable cultivation to support the restoration of native oysters at Mumbles – he calls this approach Restoration Aquaculture. Restoration of native oyster populations is a long-term process requiring continual work and management. These activities require an economically sustainable foundation to support them. By growing oysters for the market Andy is able to maintain ensure that restoration activity can be supported and carried out on site.
Andy, working with Martin Syvret, relayed 40,000 large broodstock oysters in 2015. These oysters were shown to spawn over the next 2 summers which resulted in local recruitment of oyster spat around the bay. Andy was first alerted to this by local shellfish fishermen who discovered oysters settling on whelks in their catch.
The most significant impact that Restoration Aquaculture has is in terms of overspill of oysters into the wider bay and beyond.
- Each oyster of a marketable size has the potential to produce 1 million larvae.
- A small oyster farm growing 250,000 oysters can release over 25 billion larvae
- Of these it is estimated that at least 50 million oysters will survive to grow on outside our site every year
Andy found that oyster restoration encompasses local food cultures and traditions too. We work closely with the local community and the Swansea Bay FLAG who have reinstated the Mumbles Oyster Festival, once the highlight of the village year. A local brewery even developed an oyster stout in celebration.
Currently work at Mumbles includes a wider oyster survey of historic beds around Swansea Bay and the Gower coast to assess overspill and establish a new baseline for native oysters in the region.