Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), a UK marine conservation charity has partnered with MDL Marinas, Landrover BAR and the University of Portsmouth to restore the native oyster to the Solent.
The project aims to restore millions of Oysters, whose numbers have depleted rapidly over recent years, and will in turn help to improve the health of the entire Solent waterway, the strait separating the Isle of Wight from mainland England.
Teams of volunteers filled cages with 10,000 oysters, which were then suspended underneath the pontoons of MDL’s marinas. According to BLUE, the native oyster population in the UK has halved over the last 25 years, while globally an estimated 85% of oyster beds and reef habitats have been lost.
The unique cages were designed by MDL Marinas, and are prototypes that can be used by other marinas and boat owners who wish to restore native populations. Tim Glover, BLUE’s UK project director, said that pilot tests last showed that the technique results in “healthy reproduction and low morality” for oysters.
Jo Grindley, CMO/CCO of Land Rover BAR, commented, “To see the impact that can be made when key companies partner together is particularly exciting and we look forward to seeing the positive effect this project will have in the Solent and hope it will inspire others to take action.”
Ben Fogle, broadcaster, traveller and passionate marine conservationist, worked with the team of volunteers yesterday. Fogle commented, “My experiences traversing the world’s oceans have opened my eyes to the scale of marine destruction. The humble oyster is an incredibly powerful ecosystem engineer.”
“Restoring the native oyster to the Solent would be another step closer to turning the tide against the large-scale degradation of our oceans, and giving something back to the UK’s inshore waters which provide us with so many benefits.”
According to BLUE, the reintroduction will also improve water quality due to the oyster’s ability to filter and remove pollutants, boost fish populations by providing habitat and a rich food source for marine life, and provide a sustainable supply of oysters.
For more information visit Blue Marine Foundation.