Oyster reefs provide coastal protection, food and income

Published on
November 30, 2012

The construction of oyster reefs off the coast of Bangladesh provides better protection against coastal erosion and flooding. Additionally, the oysters are a sustainable source of food and income for the local population. Wageningen UR (University & Research center), engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV and the University of Chittagong (Bangladesh) are jointly working on plans to improve the design and regulate the exploitation and maintenance of the reefs.

A previous Building with Nature project in The Netherlands has shown that shells such as oysters naturally create reefs, which influence the current and with that the erosion and sedimentation of the coastal area.

To ensure that the shelly structures that are being built on the southeast coast of Bangladesh remain in place, it is important to prevent over-exploitation. Only certain parts of the oyster reefs may therefore be harvested. Part of this project (Eco-engineering in Bangladesh, ECOBAS) focuses on informing local communities about spat settlement, oyster growth and survival of the reef.

Feasibility study

In 2013 and 2014, various natural structures will be constructed and installed along the coast of Kutubdia and Maheshkhali Island. The technical, environmental and socio-economic feasibility of the so-called 'Building with Nature' concept will be studied here.