Our projects

Solent Oyster Restoration Project

Our team has relayed vast amounts of oysters into the Solent, to restore the beds and reefs that make up one of the most imperilled kind of marine habitat in the world 

Oyster beds filter the water column, removing nitrogen, sequestering carbon and providing habitats for hundreds of species. But these critical services are being lost from the environment on a global scale.  

Around the world, an estimated 85 per cent of oyster beds and oyster reef habitats have vanished, making them among the most imperilled of all marine habitats. In response, 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 the south coast of England.   

To increase the number of breeding oysters in the area, 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 proved to provide a refuge for other marine life, and to date, we have found 97 different species living in them, including critically endangered European eels, juvenile spiny seahorses, 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. We aim to create these sanctuary sites on a large scale in areas closed to commercial fishing, allowing them to flourish and develop. 

We have also worked with the University of Portsmouth and Wild Oysters Project to develop a guide to nurseries for the native flat oyster (Ostrea edulis), whose aim is to enable marina companies, pontoon or jetty owners, and other restoration projects to establish their own nursery system for oyster restoration.   

The guide covers the for restoration, the application of nurseries, logistical considerations, the need for biosecurity protocols, and how to monitor them. With help from MDL Marinas, we have refined the system over several years, and streamlined the paperwork required to make an application, while ensuring that applicants still understand the processes involved.  

The guide and templates needed for an application – with examples in some cases – are set out with the legislative requirements for the UK & Ireland, but they can be adapted for use in other countries. 



For further details please see: Solent Oyster Restoration Project Overview


Guide to Oyster Nurseries UK & Ireland 

Setting up new site overview appendix 

AW1 Blank form to be completed 

BMP template 

Shellfish Biosecurity Measures Plan 2020 

Example Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) – UKSA 

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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