ADVENTURER and broadcaster Ben Fogle visited the Solent yesterday (Thursday) to help bring back the native oyster to the waters.
He was supporting Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), the UK-based marine conservation charity which aims to reintroduce 1 million oysters by the end of the year to help clean up the Solent — which once supported the biggest oyster fishery in Europe.
BLUE has partnered with MDL Marinas, Land Rover BAR and the University of Portsmouth to roll out the five-year project, and it involves using a team of volunteers to fill cages with 10,000 oysters, suspended underneath the pontoons of MDL’s marinas.
Ben, a former University of Portsmouth student, worked with a team of volunteers yesterday at MDL’s Port Hamble marina.
He said: “My experiences traversing the world’s oceans have opened my eyes to the scale of marine destruction.
“The humble oyster is an incredibly powerful ecosystem engineer, capable of filtering 200 litres of water a day and supporting marine life. “Restoring the native oyster to the Solent would be another step closer to turning the tide against the large-scale degradation of our oceans, and giving something back to the UK’s inshore waters which provide us with so many benefits.”
Tim Glover, BLUE’s UK projects director, said: “Our aim is to introduce up to 1 million oysters to the Solent over the course of 2017, mostly into protected seabed sites. We hope this five-year programme will have a transformational effect on the Solent in the long-term.”