Robust and resilient flat oyster fisheries (RD042)

Aim:

The project aims to collect oyster spat in an innovative way, from traditional bed reared oysters.

Funding Amount:

£55,660

Duration of Project:

17 Months

Close up of Native Oysters

Project Outcome:

The development of innovative oyster spat collector discs from waste dredged material helped to establish a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic collectors by removing carbon emissions associated with waste disposal and plastic products. Our discs attracted a host of marine organisms during the period from June 2020 to March 2021, including Sea Slugs, Star Ascidian, Sea Squirts and Coralline Algae, Gastropods, Amphipods, Isopods and Polychaeta. Native flat oyster spat (Ostrea edulis) was found on our discs, as well as spat from the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), evidencing that our innovative product was successful in attracting oyster spat.

However, numbers were not sufficient to state that this new technology has the potential to replace traditional methods. Although, this was symptomatic of the low spatfall and high mortality rate in the trial location and the wider Blackwater and Colne estuaries in 2020 and was not isolated to our discs.

Following the initial success of attracting the limited number of oyster spat, further opportunities have been developed to test this product and technology across different marine environments in order to establish a wider evidence base for its effectiveness.

STATUS: Completed

Project Lead

Exo Environmental Ltd.