With sustainability and ocean environments receiving ever increasing attention, we are proud to be continuing our work with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) in its campaign to restore the historic Solent oyster fishery. So far we’ve donated £500 to sponsor 10,000 50mm oysters, which will help to restore the once thriving oyster population and associated fishing industry in the Solent.
Over time, the marine environment of the Solent has been subject to a number of interlinked environmental problems including overfishing, habitat loss, water pollution and invasive species. The decline in the oyster fisheries in the Solent has been as a result of overfishing and has drastically reduced the amount of oyster bed habitat. Oyster regeneration is a top priority for The Blue Marine Foundation and it is working with a number of partner organisations, including MDL, on a long-term project to restore the native oyster beds of the Solent.
Over the last year we’ve been working closely with BLUE and Land Rover BAR to create protected cages of adult oysters on the team’s training pontoon in Portsmouth, with the view to replicate this to reproduce and ‘reseed’ the fishery. The initial pontoon ecology work was recognised with an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating as part of an overall award for the high standards of sustainable design at its headquarters.
Scientists don't fully understand the reasons for the decline of the Solent’s oyster population, but poaching, pollutants, dredging, water quality and temperature are all likely to be amongst the culprits. What we do know is that a big effort is required to restore the Solent oyster fishery, and the regeneration project is a big step in the right direction.
The project’s end target is to have an amazing ten million oysters in the Solent and it’s already proving to be a very successful venture, with many native oysters already in the water. Providing 10,000 oysters for the project was a great way to kick-start the initiative and we look forward to seeing the oyster population continue to grow as the campaign receives further support over the coming year.
To find out more about BLUE go to www.bluemarinefoundation.com.
You can watch a video of the installation here.