The ultimate how to guide for native oyster restoration

Two oysters being held in a hand.

The native oyster is now almost extinct in many areas around Europe, having declined by over 90 per cent due to human impacts.

  • 06 November 2020
  • 3 min read

A new guide to help restore and protect native oysters and their habitat has been launched.

The European Native Oyster Habitat Restoration Handbook is the ultimate “how to” guide to native oyster restoration in the UK and Ireland. The native oyster (Ostrea edulis) is now almost extinct in many areas around Europe, having declined by over 90 per cent due to human impacts.

The publication, commissioned by the Environment Agency and launched at the third annual Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) conference, is produced by the Native Oyster Network - UK and Ireland, a joint collaboration between University of Portsmouth and the Zoological Society of London

The handbook is created to help governments, communities and other groups sustainably restore our lost coastal habitats to create a thriving and healthy marine environment that benefits human health and wellbeing.

Dr Joanne Preston, Institute of Marine Sciences and lead editor of the handbook

The handbook draws on the breadth of experience in native oyster restoration now present across the UK and Ireland to provide foundational and practical guidance on the restoration and conservation of this imperiled species and reef habitat. The guidance is also of relevance to projects restoring oysters across Europe. It is a collaborative project with authors from the UK and EU scientific communities contributing to several chapters, with the chapter on biosecurity in oyster restoration representing a fully collaborative effort between the two communities.

Dr Joanne Preston, from the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences and lead editor of the handbook said: “This handbook aims to be accessible for both small-scale feasibility projects, as well as larger, more established projects. It covers an introduction into native oyster restoration, information about starting a restoration project, current methods of restoration in practice, biosecurity recommendations and an outline of how to effectively communicate a restoration project.

“The handbook is created to help governments, communities and other groups sustainably restore our lost coastal habitats to create a thriving and healthy marine environment that benefits human health and wellbeing.”

The Handbook has been written as an annex to the “Global Restoration Guidelines for Shellfish Reefs” (Fitzsimons et al. 2019), providing a detailed overview of information relevant to the restoration of the European native oyster, whilst adhering to international standards of ecological restoration. It has also been acknowledged as supporting the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

The full handbook can be downloaded here.

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