Project Aim: Species restoration
The Solent Oyster Restoration Project, run by Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), is aiming to restore native oysters on a large scale. Located on the south coast of England, the Solent is the strait of water that separates the Isle of Wight and the mainland and was once Europe’s largest self-sustaining native oyster fishery. This collaborative project between scientists, fishermen, conservationists and local industry is aiming to restore five million oysters to the Solent waters over the next five years and reinvigorate the ecosystem services the oyster once provided.
The Solent Oyster Restoration Project aims to restore native oyster beds and the associated benefits that they bring through the following methods:
- Broodstock cages: In order to increase the number of breeding oysters within the Solent, oysters are placed at high densities in cages that are hung from existing pontoons, below the surface of the water. Easy access to these oysters allows their physiological and reproductive state to be monitored regularly.
- Seabed restoration: To promote natural recruitment and re-establish wild oyster beds, sanctuary seabed sites will be created on a large scale. Oyster beds will be placed in areas closed to commercial fishing and allowed to flourish and develop.
- Community outreach: Through volunteer programmes and school visits, the project is raising awareness for the need for oyster restoration.
- 40,000 oysters restored to date
- Over 200 volunteers
- 11 active restoration sites
- 95 species identified on and around cages