Since 2016, an Ostrea edulis reef restoration project is undertaken in the Voordelta area, off the coast of Zeeland. It is part of the large ‘Dream fund Haringvliet Project’ (www.haringvliet.nu). The project is funded by the National Postal Code Lottery Netherlands and lead by Ark Natuurontwikkeling and WWF Netherlands. The work is executed by Wageningen Marine Research, Bureau Waardenburg and Sas Consultancy. When surveying the area to find a suitable pilot location, a mixed Ostrea Edulis/Magellana gigas reef was discovered. The Ostrea coverage varies strongly, but the reef roughly extends over 40 hectares. Most likely, the Voordelta population is offspring of the Ostrea culture in Lake Grevelingen nearby. Because of this discovery, it was decided to re-orient the project from ‘restoring’ to ‘extending’ Ostrae reefs: experiments are undertaken to investigate the mechanism of spatfall, to extend the population and also use the results to ‘kick-start’ Ostrea reefs elsewhere. In line with this, a new pilot location, further offshore, is being planned. The biodiversity of the mixed Ostrea/Magellana bed is investigated in order to show the difference with soft sediment habitat.
Karel van den Wijngaard
Early in 2016, the ‘Programme towards a Rich Wadden Sea’ (www.rijkewaddenzee.nl) announced the ambition to restore flat oyster reefs in the Dutch Wadden Sea. While pilot plans were being made, a commercial Magellana gigas collector reported findings of living Ostrea edulis specimen on mud flats in the western Wadden Sea. During the summer of 2017, a survey was conducted by Bureau Waardenburg, Wageningen Marine Research and Altenburg & Wymenga, resulting in the location of ca. 20 live Ostrea specimen. In addition, Ostrea larvae were found in the water nearby. The origin of the oysters is unknown. The Programme towards a Rich Wadden Sea is currently considering how to proceed with these results. Starting a Wadden Sea hatchery/nursery with some of the Ostrea specimen found being considered in cooperation with the Dutch sea research institute NIOZ Texel.
Programme towards a Rich Wadden Sea
WWF Netherlands (https://www.wnf.nl/nederlandse-natuur/noordzee.htm) is planning to restore Ostrea edulis reefs in the Borkum Stones area. A pilot project is currently being prepared, to start in 2018. In the pilot, 3-D printed reefstructures, other hard substrate material and a starting population of (Bonamia free) Ostrea edulis are to be combined.
ARK and WWF have now released the first report on the pilot project at the Borkum Reef. You can read more and download the full report (in English) here: https://www.wwf.nl/wat-we-doen/resultaten/updates/diepte-van-de-noordzee