Wild Oyster Project

Project Aim: Species restoration

The project is a national collaboration, led by the Zoological Society of London, Blue Marine Foundation and British Marine, working with the marine industry and local communities and organisations, to deliver restoration sites in our North East site in England (Tyne and Wear) and Wales (Conwy Bay).

Our mission is for UK seas to have self-sustaining populations of native oysters, which provide clean water, healthy fisheries, plentiful biodiversity, and on land there is a re-ignited national love of this iconic species. We are working with local delivery partners, Groundwork North East & Cumbria, Bangor University and Clyde Porpoise CIC to deliver our restoration hubs across Britain.

An oyster nursery is a micro-habitat housing 27 mature oysters which will reproduce and release oyster larvae. In total, we are installing 141 oyster nurseries into marina and port sites around Britain. The oyster nurseries act as a maternity ward, releasing the next generation of oyster larvae into the ocean.

We are restoring areas of the seabed to provide a home for our oyster larvae release by our oyster nurseries. In certain locations, some suitable habitat remains and release of oyster larvae into the water column should be effective. In others it includes adding a layer of cultch on the seabed which the larvae will settle on and create new reefs.

The Wild Oysters project will reignite the appreciation and cultural attachment to native oysters. We have a public engagement, education, and citizen science programme, aiming to educate and connect people with the sea through our oysters.

The Wild Oysters Project has partnered with local communities, NGOs, national governments, local businesses, marine industry, and universities. By partnering with local organisations, we are hoping to build a legacy in each of our three restoration hubs beyond the three years of the project. We aim to inspire and inform additional oyster restoration initiatives around the UK.

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