The Wild Oysters Project is a new three-year restoration project that launched in June 2020, developed as part of a new collaboration between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and British Marine. The aim of the project is for the UK seas 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.
To work towards achieving our aim, we are catalysing oyster rehabilitation hubs in three locations around the UK: Conwy Bay in Wales, Firth of Clyde in Scotland and Tyne and Wear in England. At each location we are building local partnerships, and we are working to deliver the project with local delivery partners, Bangor University, Clyde Porpoise CIC and Groundwork NE.
At each rehabilitation hub we are installing 46 Oyster nurseries – caged oyster systems suspended under marinas, using methods developed through the Solent Oyster Restoration Project. In addition, we are carrying out seabed restoration, including baseline surveys and cultch deployment, building upon work carried out by the Essex Native Oyster Restoration initiative.
We will also be delivering an extensive public outreach and biological sciences education programme to both primary and secondary students. We are aiming to reach 12,000 students through our education programme and 38,000 members of the general public throughout our public engagement work. Furthermore, we are excited to have partnered with British Marine (a membership organisation for the leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry) which has provided us with the opportunity to access marina sites around the UK, making space for nature. And it has also enabled us to develop our communications alongside the marine industry, to encourage sea users to take proactive steps towards protecting and nurturing our marine environment.
The Wild Oysters Project is funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund.