Native Oyster Restoration in Northern Ireland (NONI), Ulster Wildlife

Project Aim: Species restoration

The NONI project led by Ulster Wildlife is the first step in Northern Ireland to restore our once-abundant native oyster beds that provide clean water, healthy fisheries, and an abundance of biodiversity. Extensive oyster beds existed in all Northern Irish Sea loughs for several hundred years until all native oyster fisheries in Ireland were declared collapsed by 1903 due to overfishing, pollution and the spread of disease. Now only a small population of wild oysters exists in Strangford Lough.

However, in the summer of 2020, live native oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years in Belfast Lough evidence that the environmental conditions for re-establishment were right. To support the natural recovery of the native oyster, Ulster Wildlife installed Northern Ireland’s first native oyster nursery in┬áBangor Marina, in April 2022.

Less than a year later and our second native oyster nursery has been installed at Glenarm Marina. Over the next five years supported by the DAERA Environment Fund, a further four native oyster nurseries will be introduced forming a network. Whilst exploring seabed deployments on historical oyster beds to scale up restoration initiatives and create self-sustaining wild oyster populations back to these waters again.

Project Website

Project Coordinator



Many thanks to Helen Mark, Rachel Millar and Brian Morrison for providing images used on this page!