Some 1,300 oysters have been returned to the Firth of Clyde amid efforts to bring the 'ocean superheroes' back from the brink of extinction. 

Experts say native oysters  provide benefits to the oceans health, including filtering pollutants from the sea and acting as an important habitat for marine wildlife.

Their populations have continued to decrease since the 1800s, declining by 95 per cent due to human activities including dredging and illegal shellfish harvesting.

Nurseries filled with oysters will now be suspended underneath marina pontoons in Largs Yacht Haven and Fairlie Quay Marina, both in North Ayrshire.

READ MORE: Leading Scots fishing skipper facing fines of £187,000 for illegal dredging 

The nurseries create a micro habitat where the oysters can reproduce the next generation.


These oysters will begin reproducing over the next few months, releasing millions of babies, known as larvae, into the ocean.  

Wild Oysters Project local officer David Nairn said: “Inshore dredging, pollution, climate change and illegal shellfish harvesting have all contributed to the demise of the native oyster population here in the Firth of Clyde.

READ MORE: Cumbrae Oysters doubling size of three-acre site 

“Restoring this incredible species under marina pontoons will enable us to support healthy coastal waters in the Clyde and across Scotland, while also providing an outdoor classroom for local schools and communities, creating a ‘window’ into the ocean to inspire the next generation to protect and care for the marine environment.”

It comes after the project received a £1.8million cash windfall from the Postcode Dream Trust.

Celine Gamble, Wild Oysters Project Manager, said: “The Firth of Clyde is an important area for marine life and with just a handful of known oyster populations remaining across the 4000km2 sea area of The Clyde, we have an exciting opportunity contribute to the restoration of local native oyster populations here in the West of Scotland.


“Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, we can work to restore the native oyster population to support healthy, resilient, coastalwaters in west Scotland.

READ MORE: A blue belt of national parks to protect our marine future?

“Now the oysters are in their new home in the marinas, they will almost immediately begin their important work each filtering 200 litres of water a day.

“In the coming months, the oysters will start to produce the next generation of the oyster population, by releasing larvae which will then settle onto the seabed. 

“It’s our ambition that the project will help to create cleaner water, healthier fisheries and plentiful marine biodiversity in Britain.”