Our mission is for UK seas to have self-sustaining populations of native oysters, which provide clean water, healthy fisheries, plentiful biodiversity, and on land there is a re-ignited national love of this iconic species.
We are restoring oysters using nurseries
An oyster nursery is a micro-habitat housing 27 mature oysters which will reproduce and release oyster larvae. In total, we are installing 141 oyster nurseries into marina and port sites around Britain! The oyster nurseries act as a maternity ward, releasing the next generation of oyster larvae into the ocean.
In their larval stage, oysters anchor themselves to hard substrate on the seabed, where they live and grow. This substrate is known as “cultch”, which comes in the form of old shells. When oysters settle on cultch and other oysters, an oyster reef starts to form. We are restoring areas of the seabed to provide a home for our oyster larvae release by our oyster nurseries. In certain locations, some suitable habitat remains and release of oyster larvae into the water column should be effective. In others it includes adding a layer of cultch on the seabed which the larvae will settle on and create new reefs.
Education and public engagement programme & citizen Science
In some communities a living memory of native oysters remains, but in others it has gone. The Wild Oysters project will reignite the appreciation and cultural attachment to native oysters. We have a public engagement, education, and citizen science programme, aiming to educate and connect people with the sea through our oysters. We hope to inspire the next generation of marine stewards.
Marine industry, Research
The Wild Oysters Project has partnered with local communities, NGOs, national governments, local businesses, marine industry and universities. By partnering with local organisations, we are hoping to build a lasting legacy in each of our three restoration hubs beyond the three years of the project. We aim to inspire and inform additional oyster restoration initiatives around the UK.