Leading the Solent Oyster Revival
The Blue Marine Foundation.
The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is working to solve the crisis in the oceans by providing innovative solutions to overfishing and enabling the creation of marine reserves. One of its current high profile projects is working to restore the native Solent oyster population.
The Solent oyster fishery was once the largest self-sustaining native oyster stock in Europe, employing 700 people. Today, the number of oysters in the Solent has declined – so our challenge, working with the Blue Marine Foundation, Portsmouth Institute of Marine Science and Land Rover BAR, was to help restore the native oyster by tailoring the marina environment with oysters in mind.
This is a great initiative that is aimed at restoring the once thriving fishery, bringing employment opportunities and a sustainable local food source that will make a valuable contribution to the local economy – and to the ecosystem right on our doorstep. It would contribute to coastal defences and providing important ecological habitats. It was something our team were very excited to get involved with.
We were briefed by the Blue Marine Foundation and carried out our own research. Our design was a floating structure that could be fitted to the Land Rover BAR pontoon in Portsmouth and used to brood stock oysters. The structure could be retrofitted to any existing marine pontoon infrastructure so that further floating pontoons to be installed throughout the project. The initial structure on the Land Rover BAR pontoon was used as a pilot study to determine the ideal oyster density, and to make sure that the colony would thrive.
To date the pilot study is progressing well and producing insights that are invaluable to the project. We are now looking at the next stage of the project to develop oyster cages that will be installed in late 2016 when the pilot study has concluded.
If you’ve got a marina project or development in mind, let’s discuss how we can help.
Featured image credit: Harry KH
“The Blue Marine Foundation is delighted with the support we have received from MDL Marina Consultancy. Its support not only opens the minds of other leading stakeholders to the project, but has also enabled us to become a Champion of the South region. We hope to unite companies, organisations and individuals to to fund and contribute expertise to restoring the once-thriving native oyster fishery. If this is successful and well-managed, the native oyster’s resurgence will bring significant improvements to the Solent marine environment, as well as economic gains to the region.”