SUPPORT A BLUE MARINE PROJECT WITH GREENTHEUK
AIM: Restore the status of the native oyster in Solent waters so that a healthy, self-sustaining oyster population is present to provide several key ecosystem services.
LOCATION: The Solent
Oysters are ecosystem engineers, filtering water to remove pollutants, sequestering carbon and providing habitats for hundreds of species. Yet 95 per cent of Europe’s and 85 per cent of the world’s native oyster beds and reef habitats have been lost due to overfishing and pollution, making this one of the world’s most imperilled marine habitats.
The Solent, the 20-mile strait that separates mainland England from the Isle of Wight, once had the largest oyster fishery in Europe. In 1978, 450 vessels were involved in oyster fishing and 15 million oysters were removed in that year alone. However, since this peak, the oyster population has declined significantly and in 2013 the fishery collapsed, due to a number of linked environmental pressures. Oyster restoration is a high priority at the national, European and global level; oysters are classified as a priority species in the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan.
Over the next five years we aim to restore five million oysters, using both broodstock cages and seabed restoration. We will conduct community outreach, using volunteer programmes and school visits to raise awareness of the importance this cornerstone species and the need for restoration.
ABOUT BLUE MARINE:
Blue Marine Foundation aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. BLUE is dedicated to creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing. BLUE’s mission is to see 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030.