Project to bring back oysters to river begins
Foundations for the largest restoration reef in the Solent have been laid as part of the Solent Seascape Project – a multi-million pound initiative to restore marine habitats in the area.
This five-year partnership, funded by the Endangered Landscapes Project, aims to restore a wealth of diverse marine species in the Solent.
Working with the River Hamble Harbour Authority, ocean conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation laid a thin veneer of shingle mixed with cockleshells, known as ‘cultch,’ covering 2,500 metres square onto the seabed. Oysters sourced from south Wales will be transferred to the site to seed the area at the Swanwick bend in the River Hamble in a few weeks, after cleaning.
The Solent was once a large and important oyster fishery, but over the last decade oysters have significantly dwindled in numbers as a result of poor water quality, invasive species, disease and fishing pressure.
This will be the project’s second restored oyster reef in the Solent. The first, built in Langstone Harbour in 2021, has already attracted a wealth of marine fauna.