IN DETAIL

Construction of an oyster bed

in Gemini Wind Park

Building on new nature

A unique nature restoration project has been started in the North Sea. For the first time, oyster beds are being restored in deeper parts of the North Sea. To learn what the success factors of active recovery are and also to ‘kickstart' wild flat oyster beds.

The initiators are the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ARK Nature Development, and Gemini Wind Park also makes a contribution.  1,000 kilos of oysters and test cages are being placed at the park as part of a broader programme in which oyster beds are being restored in several places in the North Sea. This is also the first attempt at the North Sea to start an oyster bed in a wind park. Flat oyster beds used to occur on a large scale in the North Sea: up to the 20th century, about 20 percent of the bottom of the North Sea was covered with oyster beds.

 

These shellfish banks have largely disappeared due to overfishing, diseases and cold winters. The banks, formed by oysters and mussels, among others, offer a breeding ground for marine animals, serve as a support for plants and animals to grow on, filter the water, increase fish production and contribute to coastal protection. The species diversity on shellfish banks is 60 percent higher compared to nearby sandy soils. Sharks and skates deposit their eggs on oyster beds and small fish and shrimps can shelter and grow there. The banks form an important breeding ground for predatory fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Shellfish banks are therefore fundamental for a resilient and healthy North Sea ecosystem.

 

‘The banks, formed by oysters and mussels, among others, offer a breeding ground for marine animals, serve as a support for plants and animals to grow on, filter the water, increase fish production and contribute to coastal protection.’

 

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