Restored oysters support marine life - Bangor University

Conservation project finds thousands of animals living alongside its innovative oyster nurseries.

The Wild Oysters Project is celebrating a win for wildlife this World Oyster Day (5 August) after finding over 27,000 marine animals living among their native oyster nurseries – indicating that the restoration project is helping more than just oysters.   

The ambitious three-year project, which spans coastal regions across England, Scotland and Wales, houses over 140 oyster nurseries and 4,000 oysters across three British Estuaries.   

One year after thousands of native oysters (Ostrea edulis), housed in nurseries and suspended underneath marina pontoons, were returned to UK waters, the restoration project has discovered 65 species, including the Critically Endangered European eel, the common prawn and shore crab now living alongside the oysters.    

The Wild Oysters Project, a partnership between ZSL (Zoological Society of London), Blue Marine Foundation and British Marine aims to help restore coastal waters around the UK by bringing back native oysters from the brink of extinction after they declined by over 95%. Spanning England, Scotland and Wales, oyster nurseries were deployed in coastal regions in River Conwy (Wales), Firth of Clyde (Scotland) and Tyne and Wear (England). Just one year on, the nurseries are already demonstrating their value to the environment they’re in.    

Earning themselves the title ‘ocean superheroes’, native oysters provide huge benefits to coastal waters by helping to clean seas and their nurseries provide an important habitat for many species of marine wildlife.    

Celine Gamble, Wild Oysters Project Manager ZSL, said “In a bid to restore native oyster populations, and in turn work towards the return of healthy, resilient coastal waters, we placed nurseries filled with oysters underneath marina pontoons. So far, with the support of over 200 local community volunteers, who dedicated have over 2,000 hours, we have already seen oysters have a hugely positive impact, in what is a really short amount of time.”   

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Posted On: 05/08/2022

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