The UK’s Wild Oysters Project has released 10,000 native oysters on a human-made reef off the northeast coast of England. “Native oysters are ecosystem engineers, which means they change and improve the environment around them,” said Matt Uttley, restoration project manager at the Blue Marine Foundation. But native oysters have declined by 95% since the 1800s due to over-harvesting, habitat loss, pollution and disease. “Oysters have historically been a part of the local culture -- with signs of oysters present through ‘oyster saloons’ in Tynemouth and oyster specialist fish markets in South Shields in the mid 1800s, as well as Oystershell Hall, once situated on Oystershell Lane in Newcastle city center -- but this is the first time they’ve been restored to our waters,” said Ashleigh Tinlin-Mackenzie, marine ecology technical lead for the Wild Oysters Project.

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