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Reefs formed by native oysters are one of the most threatened marine habitats in Europe. Blue Marine is part of the Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative (ENORI), a collaboration undertaking native oyster restoration in the river Blackwater. 

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

Since 2013, ENORI has worked to improve the seabed for oysters and their larvae through the creation of new oyster reefs. The reefs consist of hundreds of tonnes of ‘cultch’ – gravel and shell which juvenile oysters require to settle on. ENORI has also boosted the mature broodstock population through the addition of tens of thousands of adult oysters into the newly restored seabed.   

Blue Marine has supported ENORI with fundraising and by hiring a project manager, Matt Uttley, to drive forward the restoration programme.  

Blue Marine also worked with windfarm operator Ørsted to scope native oyster restoration off the Essex coast at Gunfleet Sands. This innovative scoping work has been expanded across the UK and Blue Marine continues to work with regulators and the windfarm industry to increase opportunities for nature.  

To learn more and keep up to date with ENORI’s progress visit: Home – Essex Native Oysters.


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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