Native Oyster Reintroduction
Native oysters (Ostrea edulis)
Native oysters are a bivalve mollusc which mollusc which used to be common around the UK coast. They can be told apart from the invasive Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) by its rounder shape and smoother edges. Over fishing and reduced water quality has caused wild Native Oyster populations to drop to 5% of their historical range over the last 100 years. Their ability to create reef structure providing habitats for a wide array of marine life makes them an excellent candidate for restoration.
We are working on increasing Larvae production and settlement areas for the Native oysters. To increase larvae in the estuary we will place adult oyster suspended in cages (oyster nurseries) around the estuary. These will produce a massive number of larvae every summer. We will then deploy a shell and gravel mix (known as cultch) to provide a suitable substrate for these larvae to settle.