By Sue Burton (Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer)
Funding from Biodiversity Solutions Ltd in 2016 funded Seasearch diving surveys to provide data on the native oyster (Ostrea edulis) population within the Milford Haven waterway. The diving supplemented some native oyster work led by the West Wales Shellfisherman’s Association Ltd.
The data generated has enabled a continuation project which has only recently been confirmed. The Wales Native Oyster Restoration Project led by Natural Resources Wales is a four-year Welsh Government funded project that will investigate questions surrounding the approach and feasibility of restoring the native oyster in the Milford Haven waterway.
The main focus of the project is the establishment and monitoring of a series of restoration plots with the aim of addressing fundamental site-specific questions relating to survivability, recruitment, density effects, the oyster disease Bonamia and non-native species. The project will also document any in-plot observations related to habitat enhancement and increases in biodiversity.
The outputs of the work will feed in to the production of a series of recommendations outlining the approach and feasibility of wider-scale native oyster restoration in Wales. Full list of project collaborators to be confirmed. The project plans to start in April 2019 and will run until 2023.