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About Tyne & Wear

Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in the North East region of England around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. The region has a strong industrial past, half a century ago it held an international reputation for coal mining and shipbuilding, both of which have now mostly disappeared from the region. Although the estuaries remain industrial, efforts have been made to ‘clean up’ the worst affected areas in the last few decades. Today the biodiversity of the area is tremendously diverse, boasting a wide range of dramatic and rugged landscapes which contain a wealth of wildlife and geological features.

Oysters were a large part of local culture in the 1800s, with ‘oyster saloons’ in Tynemouth, oyster specialist fish markets in South Shields, and Oystershell Hall (a house rendered with oyster shells) situated on Oystershell Road in Newcastle city centre. However, this cultural link has long since disappeared, along with our once abundant native oyster populations in the region.

There is anecdotal evidence from local fishermen that a few isolated native oysters remain locally, but there is no sign of oyster reefs. We have an exciting opportunity to restore this special habitat, boosting the population of native oysters back to levels were self-sustaining reefs can thrive in North East England.

Nursery Locations

Sunderland Marina lies at the mouth of the River Wear, a short walk from Sunderland city centre, and Roker and Seaburn beaches. It offers its members direct access to the open sea, and operates alongside Adventure Sunderland, a charitable trust.

The Port of Blyth is situated in the Blyth Estuary. It is a busy port seen as a leading offshore energy support base and acts as a major hub for shipping in northern England and Scotland.

Sunderland Marina

Sunderland Marina, Roker, Sunderland SR6 0PW

Port of Blyth

Port of Blyth, South Harbour, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 3PB

Local Delivery partners

We are working with local delivery partners Groundwork North East & Cumbria, and the Environment Agency to deliver the Tyne & Wear Oyster Restoration Hub.

Groundwork North East & Cumbria

is an environmental charity with the mission of inspiring people and delivering positive sustainable change in places of need across the region, ultimately changing places and changing lives. Groundwork North East & Cumbria work to help communities find practical, sustainable solutions to the challenges they face, by providing training, creating jobs, reducing energy and waste, and reconnecting people with nature.

The Environment Agency

is an executive, non-departmental, public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and established to protect and improve the environment. The Environment Agency work to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable development.

Meet your local project officer:

Dr Ashleigh Tinlin-Mackenzie

Ashleigh is a Marine Ecologist who has studied and worked on North East England marine habitats for over 10 years. She is also a researcher at Newcastle University, with a background in intertidal and inshore fisheries assessment and management, marine policy, and remote monitoring methods.

How can you get involved?

If you would like to get involved in the Tyne and Wear oyster restoration efforts, please get in touch with Ashleigh by contacting

If you are interested in following the local progress of the Tyne & Wear restoration hub, we invite you to join our closed Facebook group

We welcome contact from volunteers, places of education, and community groups!