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Blackwater

BLUE is supporting the restoration of native oysters in Essex. The native oyster has declined in the UK by over 95% in the last century and the reefs they form are one of the most threatened marine habitats in Europe.  

The Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative (ENORI) is working to restore native oysters and the beds they form. ENORI members secured protection for native oysters in 2013 through the creation of the 284km2 Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Marine Conservation Zone. This is the only area in the UK protected for native oysters species and the habitat they provide.

Since 2013, ENORI has worked to improve the seabed for oysters and their larvae through the addition of hundreds of tonnes of “cultch” – gravel and shell – and has boosted the mature broodstock population through the addition of tens of thousands of adult oysters.

BLUE has supported the project by hiring a coordinator, Matt Utley, to drive the restoration programme. BLUE also supports the project through the purchase of cultch, 420 tonnes of which were added in 2019.

BLUE is also working with windfarm operator, Ørsted, to place mature broodstock oysters around the bases of the Gunfleet Sands wind turbines. This innovative project will be a UK first and provide an additional source of larvae for the Marine Conservation Zone.

 

Blackwater

Key stats

69,000 oysters restored across 12 sites

5 billion litres of water filtered annually, equivalent to 2,000 Olympic sized swimming pools

2 acres of oyster bed restored

97 species found living around the oysters

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How to help

By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting BLUE, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.

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