Our projects

Solent Oyster Restoration Project

Oyster beds filter the water column, removing nitrogen, sequestering carbon and providing habitats for hundreds of species. Tragically, they have disappeared around the UK’s coastline and these critical services have been lost from the environment.

Globally, an estimated 85 per cent of oyster beds and oyster reef habitats have been lost, making them among the most imperilled marine habitats in the world. Blue Marine is creating a model for restoration of this key habitat by relaying millions of oysters into the Solent, the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England. 

In order to increase the number of breeding oysters within the Solent, Blue Marine’s team has placed mature “brood stock” oysters at high densities in cages hung in the water beneath pontoons, facilitating the release of millions of larvae into the Solent. The cages have been shown to provide a refuge for other marine life, with 97 different species having been found living within the cages so far, including critically endangered European eels, juvenile spiny seahorse and sea bass. 

To promote natural recruitment and re-establish wild oyster beds, Blue Marine’s Solent team is also re-seeding protected seabed sites with juvenile oysters. These sanctuary sites will be created on a large scale in areas closed to commercial fishing and will be allowed to flourish and develop. 

For further details please see: Solent Oyster Restoration Project Overview


Establishing an oyster nursery

Blue Marine Foundation has worked with the University of Portsmouth and Wild Oysters Project to develop a guide to oyster nurseries for the native flat oyster (Ostrea edulis). The guide has been designed to enable marina companies, pontoon or jetty owners and other restoration projects to establish their own nursery system for oyster restoration, highlighting the need for restoration, the application of nurseries, logistical considerations, need for biosecurity protocols and how to monitor them. With help from MDL Marinas the system has been refined over several years and the paperwork necessary has been streamlined to make the application process as easy as possible, whilst ensuring the applicants still understand the importance of the processes involved.

The guide and templates needed to undertake the application process – with examples in some cases – are set out with the legislative requirements for the UK & Ireland, but they can be applied to other European countries by making adaptions to account for the relevant legislative requirements.

Solent Oyster Restoration

Key stats

105,000 native oysters restored to the Solent 

12 oyster restoration sites 

200 volunteers have worked on the project 

97 marine species found living in the oyster cages 

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