The Solent Oyster Restoration Project
As the second annual Onetrack1000 event approaches, we’d like to share with you one of the many reasons we’ve partnered up with the incredible marine charity, Blue Marine Foundation.
Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) exists to combat over-fishing and the destruction of biodiversity – arguably the largest problem facing the world’s oceans – by delivering practical conservation solutions, including the creation of large-scale marine reserves. BLUE’s aim is to put 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030.
To kick start this decade BLUE will pioneer restoration of flagship habitats and species providing best-practice case studies to Government.
One of these projects is The Solent Oyster Restoration Project:
Oysters are ecosystem engineers, filtering water, sequestering carbon and providing habitats for hundreds of species. Yet 95 per cent of Europe’s native oyster beds have disappeared due to overfishing and pollution. BLUE has worked in the Solent for four years to restore this cornerstone species, restoring 69,000 native oysters in trials across 12 restoration sites.
These oysters successfully spawned in three consecutive summers, releasing billions of larvae into the surrounding area and filtering five billion litres of water annually. 96 species were found living on or around the sites, including seahorses, juvenile bass, spider crabs and critically endangered European eels. In 2020 restoration will focus on the seabed re-seeding oysters within two protected areas of the Solent.
Native oyster facts:
- Oysters can improve water quality by filtering large volumes of water and removing pollutants
- A single native oyster can filter up to 200 litres of water a day).
- Native oysters all start off male then change between male and female
- When the water reaches 16-18 degrees the oysters start spawning
- Each female oyster can produce ~1,000,000 larvae (75 mm adult)
- The larvae are called "D" larvae as they look like the letter D
- Oysters eat tiny plankton and other particles in the water column
- Each adult oyster can filter between 100 - 200 litres of water a day
- Over 95 species have been found in our Solent oyster hotels, including European eels, European Bass, Seahorses etc
- Under the right conditions, native oysters can live for over 15 years
- In 1864 over 700 million oysters were eaten in London alone
The role oysters play in keeping our oceans clean and healthy is huge. Not only do they act like the oceans kidneys by filtering and removing pollution, but they also prevent erosion and allow other sea life to flourish. The recent stats showing their population collapse means our oceans and the biosphere are at serious risk, at a time when ocean health and water quality has never been more important.
Sign up to a 5K, 10K or Half Marathon and help us restore two million native oysters to the Solent.
For more information on The Blue Marine Foundation check out their website and projects here.
Have a look at our other blog posts on the projects Onetrack1000 will be directly supporting: