Welcome to the Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC
A Cooperative of Sailors, Oyster Gatherers, Merchants, Students, Researchers, Marine Biologists, Climate Carers, MP's and International Authorities
As seen on BBC Countryfile and ITV Julia Bradbury Walks Cornwall & Devon!!
The Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC is a ‘not for profit’ organisation, but like all other charities and community interest companies it has to cover overhead costs of administration, rent, research, staff and stock with or without grants/funding, it also has to build itself towards being a fair employer and sustainable habitat manager for the years, decades and centuries to come.
SavingESTER is the first project under the CIC banner, its primary focus is to create a micro hatchery that will improve the survival rate of larvae reaching a year old, which is 500,000 to 1 in the wild!! To create a biomass that improves the fecundity (successful fertilisation) by storing native oysters at a beneficial density the aquaculture site and release billions of larvae in to the wild and finally, to gather scientific research to assist the management authority in delivering “proactive not prohibitive measures” that will help the population recover, secure the future of the marine habitat and make the sailing fishing fleet more responsible and sustainable.
Our Founding Director has recently co-authored two papers with the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance Publications: Forty Questions of Importance Native Oyster Restoration Policy and European Native Oyster Habitat Restoration Handbook.
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Historically, about 100 years ago, some 200 sail and oar vessels landed 800 tonnes, but then the Bonamia disease wiped out almost all of the UK populations in the 1970's/80's. The 1,100 hectares is now 'managed' under the Fal Fishery Regulatory Order 2016.
Populations have recovered slowly and maybe the offspring’s have become more resilient, but in the past few decades landings have peaked at about 100 tonnes between a few dozen or so vessels seen fishing on a daily basis.
AS PREDICTED - In 2019-20 season it was estimated that less than 20 tonnes would be harvested from the dozen or so sail and oar vessels, possibly due to the market no longer wanting to relay juveniles - that are landed at the Minimum Landing Size of 67mm, maybe because some vessels are targeting other species - because they have nowhere to store and grow them on while they reproduce for the unique fishery, but more likely because there just isn't the mature stock on the fishery so the biomass is collapsing.
THE TOTAL RECORDED LANDINGS WAS 19,226 KG AND TOTAL EXCLUDING OYSTERS PLACED ON LAYS = 16,491 KG!!
Why is the project so important?
The Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) and the Berlin Oyster Recommendation: “bringing back a key ecosystem engineer by developing and supporting best practice in Europe” Bernadette Pogoda et al
"Recommendations: Produce sufficient oysters for restoration of oyster reefs
Background: Sufficient seed oyster supply is a key limiting factor for native oyster restoration projects in Europe. Translocation between sites of seed oysters or any other size classes from wild beds should be discouraged to avoid increasing the pressure on still existing wild beds and reduce the risk of spreading invasive species and disease.
Recommendation: Action should be undertaken to support existing hatcheries, spatting ponds and spat collector techniques and to establish new hatcheries and spatting ponds for the production of robust and genetically diverse Ostrea edulis seed. Brood stock sanctuaries should be established and used for local reinforcements."
Via Crowdfunder we are now seeking the funds to build our prototype ‘research vessel’ in the form of a working platform or pontoon. £20,000 is a small budget for such an ambitious platform, but we plan to build a modular pontoon so we can keep adding to it as we grow.
Volunteers helped build a small pontoon out of some donated floats and scaffolding to get us started and although it works ok its very small, a little temporary and totally manual (we currently have a slow manual chain hoist to lift the stock).
We have been looking at various suppliers, it is our intention to use rotor moulded recycled plastic for the floats and aluminium frame work as it is much lighter than steel. Finally we aim to have a hydraulic crane as the manual chain hoist takes too long!
Please click the ‘View Crowdfunder’ link below to support us and join the other 150+ that have already donated over £18,000.
If you think you can help us with anything then please check out our pitch at Reach Volunteering
Many thanks for reading this, we really appreciate it!