Lochaline Native Oyster Restoration

£7,000 awarded

Based on the highly successful oyster restoration project at Loch Craignish, this project will expand the trial to a new site using the existing pontoons at Lochaline marina, Argyll. Native oysters (Ostrea Edulis) will be grown in suspended baskets to restore the local native oyster population and to help regenerate the local marine habitat. The project will last a minimum of three years, although the intention is that it would run for much longer, and is a small-scale, non-commercial project intended to enhance bio-diversity. Native oysters are a Priority Marine Feature, and are “eco-system engineers”, filtering and cleaning water, and adding substantially to marine bio-diversity. Up to 20,000 native oysters will be grown in suspended cages beneath the floating pontoons until sufficiently mature and then released onto the Lochaline seabed in areas where they were formerly found. The cages would then be replenished to grow more native oysters and the cycle repeated. The success of the project will hinge on strong local partnerships between the local voluntary association/delivery partner CAOLAS (Community Association of Lochs and Sounds), the Lochaline Marina Community Development Committee, as well as Lochaline Primary School, providing “citizen science” research opportunities enabling local pupils to measure growth rates, welfare, water quality and biodiversity. It may also link up with The Scottish Associations of Marine Sciences in Dunstaffanage, to provide MSc research opportunities. The project will be a member of the Native Oyster Restoration Network (UK) and will also work closely with Marine Scotland and Nature Scotland to ensure all species restoration protocols are followed and bio-security measures are in place.