Native Oyster and Seagrass Restoration

Native Oyster and Seagrass
Image © COAST

Historically, native oysters were numerous and widespread across Scotland’s waters. Overfishing in the late 1800s to 1900s, combined with pollution and disease has resulted in significant losses to the Scottish population.

The native oyster is a Scottish Priority Marine Feature and is included in the Scottish Marine Protected Area network. The remaining oyster beds are confined to the west coast and islands, where they are a protected feature of the Loch Sween Marine Protected Area, within the Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot.

Oysters are vital ecosystem engineers, providing habitat for other species and able to improve water quality through filter feeding. Oysters may also play a role in protecting seagrass beds and coastal features from smothering and erosion.


Seagrasses form underwater meadows that are havens for marine wildlife, and nursery areas for commercially important species. Seagrass beds are a Priority Marine Feature, a UK BAP habitat and an OSPAR threatened and declining habitat. Seagrass beds are protected in 26 locations around Scotland by a suite of Marine Protected Areas.

Seagrass beds are vitally important ecosystem features, able to store carbon from the atmosphere, help to prevent erosion, provide food and shelter for other species and protection for native oysters. Since 1980 over 35% of seagrass meadows have been lost, and is still a habitat that receives little attention.


A number of CCN members are actively engaged in native oyster and seagrass restoration efforts in their local waters and these community-led success stories are inspiring others to investigate the potential in their communities. The CCN native oyster and seagrass restoration sub-group brings members together to share knowledge, expertise and to collaborate.


Seawilding

Seawilding

Loch Craignish, Argyll

Wild Oysters

Wild Oysters

Firth of Clyde

Seawilding

Lochaline

Lochaline, Argyll

Project Seagrass

Project Seagrass

Scotland-wide

Native Oyster and seagrass restoration