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Jan Feb 2015 Marina World

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ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES Oyster fishing in Oman... Almouj Marina in Muscat, Oman, has announced a pioneering eco experiment that will see the region’s first installation of oyster long-lines. These will potentially contribute to the slowing of the worldwide decline of oyster production. The project, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East, is spearheaded by Dr Olivier Guelorget, an aquaculture advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It involves the installation of a 100m long-line. A long-line is a rope anchored at the bottom of the sea at both ends with the middle being maintained at the surface of the water with buoys. The oysters are attached to ‘droppers’ from the surface line allowing good water movement to facilitate their growth. Successful tests in May 2014 led to the growth of 10,000 juvenile oysters, hung in baskets in the sea. This corresponded to over a year’s growth for the same type of oyster in, for example, French waters. Almouj Marina manager, Khalil Abu Jaber, was delighted that the marina was selected for the experiment but emphasised that marina customers were given every consideration during the process. “Our guests’ convenience is at the forefront of our minds and it was important to ensure that the oyster long-lines would have minimal operational or visual impact, and that the ecological benefits were in line with Almouj Marina and The Wave,” he said. Top: lining up baskets for the oyster experiment. Right: Almouj Marina manager Khalil Abu Jaber (left) with Dr Olivier Guelorget. ... and regeneration in the Solent MDL Marinas is supporting the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) in its campaign to restore the historic Solent oyster fishery in the UK. Business South is also supporting the initiative. The Solent oyster fishery was once the largest self-sustaining native oyster stock in Europe, employing 700 people with up to 450 boats working in the fishery. Today, the fishery is closed with insufficient oysters to sustain a commercial fishery, and just a handful of boats. Not only has the loss been seen in unemployment and the local food source but native oysters also provide critical ecosystem services by filtering and purifying water, contributing to coastal defences and providing important ecological habitats. BLUE has already clearly demonstrated its capabilities to gain results elsewhere in the UK, at Lyme Bay in Dorset, where it achieved a positive outcome in its project to establish a scientifically-informed, sustainable and equitable fishery, bringing together previously opposed parties and creating a management plan which implemented a number of important initiatives. Lyme Bay’s fishermen are actively involved in the process to secure a sustainable fishery for themselves and future generations – a process that creates jobs and improves the local economy. Dean Smith, operations and marketing director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We fully support the work of BLUE and believe re-establishing the Solent oyster fishery will be a very successful venture – both from an economic and environmental perspective. It’s great to see the work that has been undertaken in Lyme Bay and we are looking forward to working with BLUE on another successful project in the Solent.” - January/February 2015 45

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