Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Blue Marine Foundation and British Marine have been awarded £1,180,000 by Postcode Dream Trust for the Wild Oysters project.
The award is being used with the aim of increasing oyster populations in three areas across Britain.
Since the mid-1800s, native oyster numbers have declined by 95% due to over-harvesting, habitat loss, pollution and disease. The dream of this project is for British seas to have self-sustaining populations of native oysters which provide clean water, healthy fisheries, and plentiful biodiversity.
Healthy oyster beds are hugely productive with a rich biodiversity of associated species. They provide important fish nursery grounds which support commercially important species such as seabass, bream and edible crabs. The project partners will work together to restore the 20,000 square kilometres of lost oyster reefs.
Additionally, to reignite the public's cultural attachment to oysters and reduce the risk of unsustainable extraction, the project will engage facilities like schools, children centres, scouting groups and sports clubs to educate about the importance and significance of an increased oyster population.