Native oysters are set to flourish once more along the Glenarm coast with the creation of a new native oyster nursery at Glenarm Marina.
The restoration initiative, led by Ulster Wildlife, could see up to 800 million oyster larvae released into surrounding waters every year, allowing these ocean superheroes to bounce back from extinction – boosting biodiversity and reducing water pollution levels.
Native oysters (Ostrea edulis) were once abundant along the Glenarm coast up until the mid-1800s when overfishing, disease, invasive species and pollution decimated the local population. Evidence of their shells can still be seen today along the shoreline.
Now over 800 mature native oysters, sourced under licence from Loch Ryan in Scotland, are being suspended in 30 purpose-built cages over the edges of the marina’s pontoons to help revive the species.
The oysters were screened for disease and cleaned on arrival before being installed.
Dr David Smyth, Senior Conservation Officer with Ulster Wildlife, said: “Despite their small size and insignificant appearance, oysters can bring huge benefits to our marine environment. Already, they have started to filter and clean 162,000 litres of seawater at Glenarm per day, equivalent to 810 bathtubs. And, this summer, they will reproduce, releasing the next generation of oysters onto the seabed to form oyster reefs, providing nursery grounds for fish and shelter for marine creatures. This is a win-win for nature: restoring oysters creates healthier and more resilient seas and their reefs store carbon – crucial if we are to tackle the nature and climate crisis.”
Posted On: 24/05/2023