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."
ECONOMIC VIABILITY, OR IT WILL SILT UP
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 oysters on while they reproduce for the unique habitat, 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!!