Oysters set to be new pearl of The Solent
Native oysters are to return to the Solent, once the biggest oyster fishery in Europe.
A coalition led by the BLUE Marine Foundation has announced its intention of restoring a healthy population of oysters to the Solent by 2025.
The news follows the publication of a new study by MacAlister Elliott and Partners of Lymington, which was funded by MDL Marinas – the owner of seven marinas along the Solent - that suggests a portfolio of techniques could be used for oyster restoration.
Charles Clover, chairman of the BLUE Marine Foundation said: “We are very excited that people think it is feasible to bring back the oyster to the Solent. The loss of it has not only affected fishermen’s jobs but it has deprived this busy waterway of the filtering power of these bivalves and the high levels of biodiversity associated with oyster beds.
“We take inspiration from the restoration efforts going on in the United States, particularly around New York, once one of the biggest concentrations of oysters in the world. If they can re-seed a billion oysters in New York harbour by 2030, I don’t see why we can’t do it in the Solent and in the process bring back an important native species and restore an important strand of the economy on the south coast.”
Fishing for oysters in the Solent was banned in 2013 over fears of plummeting numbers. That ban remains in place two years on.
Oysters perform many useful ecological functions. They remove significant amounts of nitrates and phosphates from water, trapping carbon dioxide in their shells. A single native oyster can filter up to 200 litres of water a day. A one hectare oyster bed may remove and deposit over 7.5 tonnes of suspended sediment.
Picture credit: © Baloncici | Dreamstime.com - Oyster Photo