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The Wild Oysters Project- One year on

By 5 August 2021No Comments

Today, on World Oyster Day 2021 we are reflecting on a year since the launch of The Wild Oysters Project.

Last year on 5th August on World Oyster Day, ZSL (Zoological Society of London), BLUE (Blue Marine Foundation) and British Marine announced that we had been successfully awarded £1.18m by the Postcode Dream Trust, with the aim of restoring Britain’s seas to health through the restoration of the native oyster! A year on, we thought that it would be the perfect time to update you on the progress of our project…

We are delighted to share that our three restoration sites around the UK have been established with our Local Delivery Partners, despite the logistical challenges of national lockdowns and restrictions. We have installed a total of 142 oyster nurseries into 6 marina and port sites around the country, in Tyne & Wear NE England, Conwy Bay in North Wales, and Firth of Clyde in Scotland.

Our oyster nurseries going into our final site in Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

Our oyster nurseries contain a total of over 4,000 mature native oysters. As the sea temperatures increase naturally during the summer months, our oysters have begun to reproduce and release oyster larvae into the ocean. These larvae will eventually settle onto the seabed, helping us to restore wild oyster populations locally.

Our Local Project Officers have been working with local volunteers to monitor the progress of our oyster nurseries for survival and biodiversity. We have recorded over 42 different marine species in our oyster nurseries across our three sites so far, some examples include: the critically endangered European Eel, Sea scorpion fish, butter fish and several Nudibranch species.

Images of some of the biodiversity found whilst monitoring our oyster nurseries, sea scorpion fish (left), European eel (middle), volunteers helping with our biodiversity monitoring in Conwy Bay, Wales(right).

Alongside our restoration activities, we have engaged with over 14,000 members of the general public, delivered education sessions to over 1,100 students and had the support from over 70 volunteers to monitor and care for our oyster nurseries. So far, the support from our volunteers has equated to over 3,160 hours!

An education session with primary school students in Tyne & Wear, NE England. If you are interested in learning more about our education programme, you can visit our website here: https://wild-oysters.org/education-material/

We need your help! We are looking for more fantastic volunteers to help us to monitor and care for our oysters in the following locations:

  • Sunderland Marina and Port of Blyth in Tyne & Wear, NE England.
  • Largs Yacht Haven and Fairlie Quay Marina in Firth of Clyde, Scotland.
  • Conwy Marina and Deganwy Marina in Conwy Bay, Wales.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email us: wild.oysters@zsl.org to sign up and include your local site in the subject line. If you are not able to get to one of our sites, then you can help us remotely by helping us with our Oyster Watch: https://wild-oysters.org/oyster-watch/

The Wild Oysters Project is a national collaboration, led by ZSL, BLUE and British Marine, working with the marine industry and local delivery partners: Groundwork Northeast and Cumbria, Bangor University and Clyde Porpoise CIC, to deliver restoration sites in England, Scotland and Wales.

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