North East UK news North East oyster nurseries help filter half a million bathtubs of water PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Oyster nurseries in Blyth and Sunderland are part of a nationwide project which hopes to restore 20,000 square kilometres of oyster reefs that have been lost from British coastline
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A network of oyster nurseries set up to help restore marine habitat, two of which are in the North East, have filtered almost half a million bathtubs worth of water in just a year, conservationists say. The Wild Oyster Project was set up a year ago with the aim of bringing the native oyster back from the brink of extinction in the UK. 4,000 of the shellfish were suspended beneath pontoons across England, Scotland and Wales, with the North East's located in the Port of Blyth and Sunderland Marina. Oysters were once a large part of local culture in the 19th century, with specialist fish markets in South Shields, 'oyster saloons' in Tynemouth and even Oystershell Hall in the city centre - a house encrusted in oyster shells which a Newcastle University building in the Helix makes reference to. But the links are now largely forgotten, and have declined with the population of oysters in the British Isles - around 95% since the 1800s. Read more: Gateshead woman's fury after sewage dump at Kent seaside leaves her, partner and dog with gastroenteritis However, the project's ambition is eventually to restore 20,000 square kilometres of oyster reefs that have been lost from Britain's coastline, with the shellfish able to filter pollutants out of up to 200 litres of water per day. The Wild Oyster Project is a collaboration between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the Blue Marine Foundation and trade association British Marine and it is estimated that so far 98 million litres of water have been filtered by the marine molluscs, which is the equivalent of half a million bathtubs. Not only that, they provide a boost for other marine life, with 65 species found living among the oyster beds, including the critically endangered European eel, the common prawn and shore crab. A spokesperson for the project said that local volunteers counted more than 27,000 marine animals in the waters around the nurseries between August last year and June 2022. Native oysters were introduced at Sunderland Marina at the mouth of the River Wear as part of the Wild Oyster Project Celine Gamble, wild oysters project manager for ZSL, said: "With the support of over 200 local community volunteers who have dedicated over 2,000 hours, we have already seen oysters have a hugely positive impact in what is a really short amount of time.
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. We have been delighted to find all of these living alongside the native oyster nurseries we established, within just a year of us starting the project."
Wild Oysters Project Manager Celine Gamble from the Zoological Society of London pictured with native oysters which are being introduced at Sunderland Marina at the mouth of the River Wear.
According to conservationists, some oysters have started to release the next generation of baby oysters, known as spat, onto the seabed and it is hoped that they will thrive. Matt Uttley, restoration project manager at Blue Marine, said: "Native oysters are ecosystem engineers, meaning they create a complex 3D habitat that provides feeding and nursery grounds for other species. Given that native oyster beds are so crucial to marine life, yet are one of the most threatened marine habitats in Europe, the work of the wild oysters project to restore these lost habitats is essential." The Wild Oyster Project received £1.18m in funding from the Dream Fund award run by the People's Postcode Lottery. It released the data on the scheme's progress ahead of World Oyster Day, on Friday August 5. The other locations where the Wild Oyster Project is taking place are the Firth of Clyde in Scotland and Conwy Bay in Wales. What do you think of the Wild Oyster Project? Let us know! Read next Tyne is the only river in England where wild salmon 'not at risk' Moment Kielder's 100th osprey chick takes to the skies captured on video 'Wildlife tragedy' as bird flu devastates vital colony with thousands dying on Farne Islands Two Northumberland coast sites shortlisted to become Highly Protected Marine Areas Bosses of water firms should face prison for pollution, Environment Agency says
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