Restoring the habitats of wild oysters in Conwy Bay

Restoring the habitats of wild oysters in Conwy Bay

An oyster in the water
Oysters are being restored to Conwy Bay. Photo: ZSL.

Nature Networks Fund Round 2

The Zoological Society of London
ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and Bangor University are restoring native oyster habitats in Conwy Bay to improve marine biodiversity, increase coastal resilience and re-connect people with their coastal heritage.

Conwy Bay on the north coast of Wales has important marine habitats, recognised as a Special Area of Conservation. The project, Restoring Wild Oysters to Conwy Bay, has been working to restore the coastal environment, regaining the ecological benefits of re-establishing native European oyster populations in the area.

Oysters are a keystone species, meaning they have an critical role in nature’s recovery. Providing marine habitats for a rich diversity of algae and animals, they improve water quality and recycle nutrients for other wildlife to use.

A successful pilot project has installed oyster nurseries in nearby marinas and provided opportunities for people to connect with natural heritage through education activities and citizen science. The partnership is continuing their work, taking it a step further.

A person wearing sailing gear lowers an oyster nursery, a cage containing oysters, into the water in a harbour
An oyster nursery at a harbour in Conwy Bay. Photo: ZSL.


The project’s activities include:

  • creating three jobs to manage the project and deliver public engagement activities
  • restoring native oysters to the seafloor to create an oyster reef
  • monitoring and surveys to understand the biodiversity of this habitat
  • reporting and evaluating the oyster reef’s progress to contribute to local coastal management plans

Restoring native oyster reefs provides great opportunities to engage the public with marine heritage. The project is arranging visits to oyster nurseries for schools, colleges and university students and training 60 citizen scientists to help monitor the oyster nurseries. Public outreach events and online engagement is also running over the course of the project. By sharing the project’s work and involving communities, the project is working to increase marine stewardship in the local area, and encourage eople to get involved in actively restoring our precious marine habitats.

This project was awarded funding through the Nature Networks Fund, distributed by the Heritage Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government in partnership with Natural Resources Wales.

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