HUNDREDS of young oysters have been placed in the Lymington River — as part of an initiative to re-introduce the shellfish to the Solent.

Wightlink has partnered with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) to place cages of mature ‘brood stock’ oysters at the ferry terminal. They will release millions of larvae into The Solent.

BLUE's oyster cages have also been shown to provide a refuge for other marine life, with 97 different species having been found living inside them elsewhere so far, including critically endangered European eels, juvenile spiny seahorse and sea bass.

“Oysters are very effective in improving water quality and removing pollutants, just one of them can filter up to 200 litres of water a day,” said Wightlink chief executive Keith Greenfield.

“We share the Foundation’s aim to restore five million oysters to the Solent to re-establish a controlled fishery and are following its programme with interest.”

Jacob Kean-Hammerson, Solent Project Manager at BLUE, said: “We are delighted to be working with Wightlink on the project with the introduction of a new brood stock cage site at the Lymington ferry terminal. Housing oysters here in the west of the Solent is another step towards the recovery of this important species.”

Supporting the Blue Marine Foundation is part of Wightlink’s Green Agenda, which began with the arrival of its hybrid energy flagship Victoria of Wight.