Tylihul Estuary
The Home of the first and only oyster farm in Ukraine

Photos: Kurochkin Sergiy, Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds

Project Tylihul Estuary

The Tylihul Estuary is the home to the first and only oyster farm in Ukraine that cultivates more than 13 varieties of oysters. Based on the positive conditions for flat oysters during the pilot project, the Tylihul Geopark is launching an ambitious plan to install massive amount Reef Balls for the European flat oysters as part of Restoration program 2023-2025. 

After successful pilot project 2020-2022 using oysters spat from Holland and France we could document high survival rate, growth, and ecologically suitable condition for the return of European oysters. Seed oysters from the Netherlands and France (shell length ~2 mm) were deployed in cages in offshore field experiments in 10 m water depth. 

The overall condition of oysters in the Estuary is excellent that identified by high condition indices and early reproductive activity. These findings from the pilot are highly relevant for future restoration measures in the Black Sea as they can confirm that present-day environmental conditions and small, hatchery-produced seed oysters from Europe are suitable of supporting sustainable and successful restoration efforts even in the Black Sea.

As O. edulis is a reef-building species, it was decided in March 2023 to make a cooperation with Reef Ball Foundation to introduce first ever Reef Balls for oysters in the Black Sea. With full support from the local administration, it will be built and deployed 30 pieces of Reef Balls using moulds from Reef Ball as a pilot program in Tylihul Estuary.

The area for restoration is situated within the national natural park and strictly adheres to high sustainability standards. 

Apart from being tourist attraction, the restoration project will provide guided tours, workshops, and masterclasses in an effort to educate Ukrainians about the culture surrounding oyster’s reef’s role in nature. The oyster farmer Andriy Pihulevskiy supports the restoration project in coordination with the local administration and NGO Tylihul Life. The NGO Tylihul Life is open for international cooperation and joint scientific collaboration in order to facilitate the restoration project based on the latest know-how.

Photos: Vadym Kravchenko


If you are looking for a possibility how to contribute to the project, please contact our Project Manager Vadym Kravchenko vakra11@gmail.com , Andre Pigulevskiy andrew@p-planet.net or, Tatyana Chichkaluyk, Head of Ecotourism in South Ukraine, Tatyana_chichkaluyk@ukr.net.