NORA News late July 2023

Dear NORA community,

Here is the ´summer edition´ of the NORA newsletter, encompassing an update on NORA 5, on the activities of the monitoring working group and some more information.

We have started in the summer months with a milestone - the EU Ecosystem Restoration Law has been adopted on July 12th by the EU Parliament – but it was a very sharp decision. And now it has to go into final negotiations between the main EU bodies. Let´s keep our fingers crossed. More information see below…

Enjoy the summer and we hope to see all of you in November in Middelburg at NORA 5.

The NORA Secretariat

EU information

Proposal of Nature Restoration Law adopted by EU Parliament

On June 22nd, the Commission adopted the proposal for the Nature Restoration Law, passing it to EU Parliament. Here it was adopted on July 12th, with 336 YES to 300 NO and 13 abstentions.

Going through different Parliaments´ Committees earlier this year, some of the most progressive and important targets have already been weakened, and there was a strong discussion on the political level, especially regarding agriculture and fisheries. Opinions are now more or less split – is it good to have a ´weakened law” and finally move forward with that decision or will it be too weak now? Let´s see how it will develop, as the proposal will now be sent back to the Environment Committee, starting with that in the trilogues – a process of final negotiations between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. The Spanish EU Council Presidency started working quickly, organising the first trilogue session just a week after the Parliament voted on its position and aiming to have an agreement by the end of the year.

There has been an immense positive effect of this discussion: the adoption was an overwhelming effort of civil society, youth activists, scientists and business. More than one million signatures and messages from citizens had been gathered, urging Members of Parliament (MEPs) to vote for the law. And a several thousand scientists had brought in their expertise and raised their voices. All these activities have led to a very high media coverage and interest in restoration issues, also in the marine environment.

If implemented, a strong nature restoration law will likely be a game changer for the protection and rehabilitation of Europe’s nature, being in line with the targets of the EU biodiversity strategy. At least 20% of the EU’s land and sea by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050 should be restored and protected. For marine ecosystems, the law requires member states to restore specific ecosystems such as seagrass beds, bivalve reefs or sediment bottoms, also as a means to mitigate climate change or habitats of threatened marine species.

We strongly hope that the nature restoration law will give a push to oyster restoration activities – as there should be funding available to reach the ambitious targets. The expertise and experience of already existing projects in European countries will be of high value. Restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems is feasible and improves biodiversity.

For more information, take a look at the EU website.

NORA 5 in

Middelburg / The Netherlands

Selection process nearly finalized.

The selection committee has done its favourable work and assessed all 78 abstracts that have been submitted for posters and talks. We can already inform you that all poster abstracts have been accepted. Regarding the talks, we have scheduled a tight programme, allowing as many talks as possible. Nevertheless, some need to be shifted to the PhD-Session or to a poster. We will now inform authors about the decision within the next days. So please check your emails regularly.

The programme will be published asap on the NORA website after getting in touch with the authors of the talks.

Reminder: NORA 5 registration is open

The registration process for NORA 5 is open.

We have organised a dinner event at the conference venue for Monday evening on expenses of the participants. Registration is needed. All attendees who have already registered will be asked in due course whether they would like to take part. For new registrations: please tick the box in the registration form.

Reminder: Exchange on outreach materials at NORA 5

For NORA 5, we would like to prepare an „outreach booth" with the possibility to show already existing outreach materials (e.g. flyers, posters, school materials, games…) out of the projects and meet there to chat about ongoing work will be organized.

If you developed such materials (any language, any material!) and want to share it with the NORA community, please send a short email to Corina ( and/or the NORA secretariat ( in order to secure enough space on site for everyone and everything.

NORA Activities

NORA Monitoring WG Assessment of common monitoring metrics to answer priority questions.

As part of the Monitoring WG strategy we are seeking to understand the potential and effectiveness of the agreed common monitoring metrics (see handbook) to answer the questions identified as priorities for enabling supportive policy and effective, scalable practice of oyster restoration in Europe as described in the ‘40 Questions’ paper (zu Ermgassen et al 2020).

We are calling for PARTICIPANTS to undertake the NORA Monitoring WG Assessment of Monitoring metrics to answer priority questions.

This is part of our Working Group strategy and will run alongside another exercise to assess the uptake and use of these monitoring metrics across the community.

If you are involved in scientific monitoring of a research or restoration project associated with native oyster habitat we would encourage you to join the Monitoring Working Group. However, beyond participation in the WG we are asking for participation from all members of the NORA community in the assessment of monitoring metrics.

Participation CALL DETAILS:

  • We are asking individuals or project to undertake a theoretical exercise to assess which of the questions in the ’40 questions’ paper could be answered by the metrics set out in the monitoring handbook.
  • The assessment is via completion of a excel spreadsheet matrix, to be found on the NORA website. There are 4 sheets – a metadata sheet for participant information; the Question vs metric matrix which is to be completed; 2 supporting information sheets listing the 40 questions and handbook monitoring metrics.
  • Individuals or projects may take part, but we would like projects to submit 1 consensus excel spreadsheet with details of all participants.
  • You do not need to be actively involved in a restoration project to take part.
  • The deadline for excel sheet submission is 30/09/2023.

We are excited to work with you all to collect this information, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Joanne Preston ( on behalf of Boze Hancock & Philine zu Ermgassen.

Key documents:

  1. Monitoring handbook:
    zu Ermgassen, P.S.E., Bos, O., Debney, A., Gamble, C., Glover, A., Pogoda, B., Pouvreau, S., Sanderson, W., Smyth, D. and Preston, J. (eds) (2021). European Native Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring Handbook. The Zoological Society of London, UK., London, UK.
  2. Priority questions paper:
    zu Ermgassen, P.S.E, Bonacic K., Boudry P., Bromley C.A., Cameron T.C., Colsoul B., Coolen J.W.P., Frankić A., Hancock B., van der Have T.M., Holbrook, Z., Kamermans P., Laugen A.T., Nevejan N., Pogoda B., Pouvreau S., Preston J., Ranger C.J., Sanderson W.G., Sas H., Strand A., Sutherland W.J. (2020). Forty questions of importance to the policy and practice of oyster restoration in Europe. Journal of Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Special Issue Article. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3462
  3. NORA Monitoring WG Strategy

More context:

Over the next 6-12 months we will be undertaking a series of questionnaires and online workshops to deliver on some of our WG strategy (see link), particularly:

  1. Assess the extent and uptake of common monitoring protocols across the NORA community, and the biogeographic range of O. edulis.
    • Create a database of projects across biogeographic range and NORA community
    • Identify which metrics each identified restoration project are monitoring
  2. Analyse the extent and success of restoration projects to date, given the existing data.
  3. Identify which of 40 priority research questions could be answered from the agreed common monitoring.

Further Activities

Conference OSTREA 2023 in Brest, France, 08 September 2023

Hello Everyone,

We are pleased to invite you to Ostrea 2023 - The flat oyster: an example of ecological transformation?

The event will take place at Océanopolis in France at Brest on Friday 8 September 2023 from 8.30am to 6pm. Conference language will be French. Registration is now open. Download the  provisional programme here

CRC Bretagne-Nord, Ifremer and Océanopolis

This conference is financially supported by the Comité National de la Conchyliculture, the Comité Régional de la Conchyliculture Bretagne-Nord, Océanopolis, the European Union Life programme as part of the Life IP Marha project, Ifremer and Banque Populaire Grand Ouest.

Conference Progress in marine conservation 18 – 22 September 2023

Scientists and representatives of national and international nature conservation authorities as well as NGOs and nature consultant bureaus will meet from 18 to 22 September 2023 in Stralsund. The conference is hosted by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the German Oceanographic Museum / OZEANEUM. The draft programme is published on the BfN website, registration is still open. There is no conference fee, but participants have to cover their expenses for travel and accommodation.

Under the topic of ´how to stop biodiversity loss – from knowledge to action´, the participants will develop recommendations to policy how to move on for a better protection of the marine ecosystems. There will be approx. 40 talks on 30/10 target and Marine Protected Areas, Offshore Wind Energy and fisheries(management), structured into plenary sessions and workshops. The Conference will finish with a session on biodiversity monitoring and with some positive examples of re-introduction of species and restoration of habitats. Some of our oyster community will also be present, giving an overview of oyster restoration in Europe: Bernadette Pogoda giving an insight in the PROCEED and RESTORE projects, Philine zu Ermgassen with an overview about oyster restoration in the UK and Marina Albentosa presenting the Mar Menor Initiative. NORA will be represented with a poster.



Special Section from NORA 4 conference published in Aquatic Conservation – Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

In Aquatic Conservation as of July, Vol 33, No. 7, the originally planned special Issue of NORA 4 was published as a special section. Unfortunately, some announced publications have been withdrawn, so it was not possible to deliver a Special Issue. The seven remaining articles are now compiled in a special section, using some oyster photos for the cover.


Sea bed disturbance increases flat oyster recruitment for low to moderate stock densities
Tom C. Cameron, Graham Baker, Jim Pullen, Alice E. Lown
Pages: 637-644 First Published: 08 June 2023

Recovery of eutrophized marine ecosystems using the European flat oyster, Ostrea edulis
M. Albentosa, M. I. Akinyemi, M. Vera, I. Ibarrola, R. Filgueira, E. Galimany, F. da Costa, B. G. Pardo, M. Vázquez-Luis, A. Hernández, S. Hernandis, P. Martínez Pages: 645-660 First Published: 06 March 2023

Setting the stones to restore and monitor European flat oyster reefs in the German North Sea
Santiago E. A. Pineda-Metz, Bérenger Colsoul, Miriam Niewöhner, Tanja Hausen, Corina Peter, Bernadette Pogoda
Pages: 661-677 First Published: 18 April 2023

Come, tell me how you live: Habitat suitability analysis for Ostrea edulis restoration
Bernadette Pogoda, Tanja Hausen, Marko Rothe, Felix Bakker, Sarah Hauser, Bérenger Colsoul, Manuel Dureuil, Jochen Krause, Kathrin Heinicke, Christian Pusch, Simone Eisenbarth, Axel Kreutle, Corina Peter, Roland Pesch
Pages: 678-695 First Published: 08 March 2023

Northern Europe's suitability for offshore European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) habitat restoration: A mechanistic niche modelling approach
Brecht Stechele, Anna Hughes, Steven Degraer, Peter Bossier, Nancy Nevejan
Pages: 696-707 First Published: 25 April 2023

A machine learning model and biometric transformations to facilitate European oyster monitoring
Santiago E. A. Pineda-Metz, Verena Merk, Bernadette Pogoda
Pages: 708-720 First Published: 09 January 2023

Site selection for European native oyster (Ostrea edulis) habitat restoration projects: An expert-derived consensus
Anna Hughes, Kruno Bonačić, Tom Cameron, Ken Collins, Fiz da Costa, Alison Debney, Luca van Duren, Jesper Elzinga, José M. Fariñas-Franco, Celine Gamble, Luke Helmer, Zoë Holbrook, Eric Holden, Katherine Knight, James A. J. Murphy, Bernadette Pogoda, Stéphane Pouvreau, Joanne Preston, Alec Reid, Emilie Reuchlin-Hugenholtz, William G. Sanderson, David Smyth, Brecht Stechele, Åsa Strand, John A. Theodorou, Matt Uttley, Ben Wray, Philine S. E. zu Ermgassen
Pages: 721-736 First Published: 30 January 2023

Publication in BBC Future Planet on Seawildings´ activities:

A nice report on the Seawildings´ initiatives to restore oyster reefs and seagrass meadows can be found here:
Seawilding: the Scottish community reviving a loch