Largs Yacht Haven's team are delighted to have been selected as the Scottish marina host for what The Zoological Society of London are calling “one of the biggest conservation projects of its kind in the UK.”
Proud to facilitate plans from The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and partners Blue Marine Foundation and British Marine who, thanks to a whopping £1.18 million lottery funding, have partnered to launch The Wild Oyster Project. Largs will play a pivotal role in restoring native wild oyster populations along our treasured part of the UK’s coastline.
“Marine leisure meets wildlife conservation” Largs’ Director Carolyn Elder explains “The Wild Oyster Project will demonstrate that wildlife can be cultivated in enclosed, leisure environments, enabling our boating and local communities to work in perfect harmony with marine conservation.”
Conservationists have already seen native oyster populations decline by 95% across the UK, thanks to over-harvesting, loss of habitat, pollution and disease; but research shows that healthy oyster beds promote a rich biodiversity of associated species, creating fish nursery habitats for seabass, bream and edible crabs.
Oysters also filter the water they inhabit, improving its quality and clarity, even capturing carbon in the calcium carbonate in their shells.
ZSL senior conservation programme manager, Alison Debney welcomed the “superheroes of our oceans” project explaining “despite their small size, they’re capable of making huge changes in our marine environment.”
Selected because of our clean, clear waters, we have a strong history of oysters in the Firth of Clyde, with our neighbouring oyster farm.
Carolyn told me “we’re immensely proud of our reputation for good environmental practice, delighted to have been chosen as one of the UK’s hosts for The Wild Oyster Project.”
UK-based Walcon Marine are currently fabricating the bespoke oyster cages which will be suspended under our existing pontoons, so the young oysters “spat” can be released across newly created oyster reefs; including one in Wales, Tyne and Wear and the south coast. Between us, restoring 20,000km2 previously lost from the UK’s coastline.
Speaking on behalf of the People’s Postcode Lottery, their Head of Charities Laura Chow said “it is a huge milestone in marine conservation. Oysters are little carbon capturers as they purify the water in which they grow.”
Planned for launch in 2021, one of our berth holders David Nairn, a keen environmentalist has been employed by ZSL to oversee and clean the cages once they’re installed. Lifting, cleaning, maintaining and checking them on a regular basis.
Spokesman and British Marine Environment Executive, James Scott-Anderson added; “it’s a unique opportunity to bring together marine industry, science & expertise. Connecting with coastal communities, sharing resources and knowledge to build a sustainable future for UK marinas.”
We’ll bring more news once the cages are installed and updates on the oysters' progress in our Largs Yacht Haven.
“It’s a unique opportunity to bring together marine industry, science & expertise. Connecting with coastal communities, sharing resources and knowledge to build a sustainable future for UK marinas.”
James Scott-Anderson, British Marine Environment Executive