Oyster Heaven

Why we are doing it

Globally we have lost 85% of our Oyster Reefs. In the North Sea, it has been suggested up to 95% of them are now gone. We lost them due to overfishing before any of us were alive. Our shifting baselines means these ecosystems have been forgotton.

Yet, they are vital for the healthy functioning of our oceans and provide a variety of valuble services such as:

  • Oyster reefs could be a very effective way to restore fisheries as the reefs are nurseries for many fish. Nature conservancy showed that a single dollar of investment in marine conservation zones improved the financial return of local fisheries by $7 in the US.

  • Oysters reef ecosystems have already been implemented as a part of a hybrid approach to flood surges and coastal erosion elsewhere in the world. Oysters could reduce the bill for artificial marine engineering projects over the long term. Oyster reefs grow and repair themselves naturally unlike traditional marine engineering interventions like levees.

  • Oysters reef ecosystems in shallow waters are a promising carbon sink with less opportunity cost than land based alternatives. Carbon is sequestered through creation of calcium carbonate shells and consequent storage in sediment.

  • Oyster reef ecosystems are also a promising nitrogen and phosphate sink. 46% of European coastal waters are subject to ‘intense eutrophication’ Nitrogen is a huge cost for countries because the environment and hypoxic conditions that this creates. Oysters uptake both Nitrogen and Phosphate at a very significant rate and permenantly sequester this in the sediment.