Oyster beds are very important for marine life. They filter sea water and serve as resting and spawning areas for fish, which then attract sharks, rays, porpoises, and seals. However, overfishing, diseases, and pollution have caused the flat oyster reefs in the North Sea to almost completely disappear.
Wageningen Marine Research has been commissioned by the wind energy sector and nature organisations to work on the restoration of the flat oyster which includes the use of North Sea wind farms.
Our researchers place monitoring cages with oysters in and outside of wind farms along the North Sea coast, which they regularly retrieve to measure development. The initial results are promising. The research is being conducted in collaboration with SAS Consultancy and Bureau Waardenburg. Our institute is also working intensively with the Roem van Yerseke hatchery on breeding disease-free oysters from an infected source area.
In this way, Wageningen Marine Research is using its knowledge of oyster life and monitoring techniques to contribute to the restoration of oyster beds and the development of other important underwater nature.