September/Oktober 2023

Dear NORA community,

Here is the ´autumn edition´ of the NORA newsletter, with an update on NORA 5 which is our focus topic at the moment. We know that there will be some very exciting talks and posters, presenting new projects and research results. Therefore, we would be happy to receive some short texts on project updates for the NORA website during November and December to start with an updated website in the year 2024.

In this context, we would like to remind you that NORA is a foundation now. That means that NORA can be functional partner in projects, e.g., for communication and dissemination aspects, support for policy activities and knowledge exchange. We strongly encourage you to think of how NORA can support you / your project and, by this way how you can also support NORA. Being a foundation, NORA can issue invoices for such work. Please get in touch with the NORA secretariat if you have any questions or ideas.

We are looking forward to meeting you in Middelburg in four weeks.

Kind regards,
The NORA Secretariat

NORA 5 in

Middelburg / The Netherlands

Reminder: NORA 5 registration deadline at 15th of October

The registration process for NORA 5 is still open, but as we need to inform the venue about the final number of participants, we will close registration on October 15th. If you are not registered, please do so within the next days and inform your colleagues.

So far, we expect up to 170 participants, coming up to now from 13 countries.

Selection process finalized and programme on website

The selection process for talks, poster presentations and presentations in the session new projects/new ideas have been finalized and all speakers were informed.

On Day 1 of the conference, we will start with the PhD session. Many of you have registered for this session, as student, but also as early career researcher, supervisor, professor. We highly appreciate that there is such a high interest in this session. Many thanks to Sophie Valk and Fiona Woods who organise the session and support the Organisation Committee.

With the official start of the conference, we will dive into the results of restoration pilots and scaling-up methods, then moving on to the other seven main topics. The days are fully packed with keynotes, more than 40 talks and some 15 speed presentations.

Please take a closer look at the programme on the NORA website.

NORA Activities

Biosecurity Working Group

The next meeting of the Biosecurity Working Group will take place on
October 20th, 11-13h CEST.

Please get in touch with Hein Sas if you would like to join the meeting.


Further Activities

Wild Oysters Activities

The Wild Oysters Project was very active in the last days. By the end of September, they motivated about 300 volunteers and families from the local community to join together at a beach in Sunderland (North East England), celebrating the native oyster. They “painted” an oyster reef scene with oysters, prawn, crabs and fish. Led by an artist (Soul2Sand), they created a 25 x 25-meter scene at the beach, consisting entirely of sand.

Take a further look here...

Only some days later, the Wild Oysters Project, together with their partners, deployed 10,000 oysters nearby (of the coast of Whitburn) to the newly build “reef” of cultch material (scallop shells and stones). The preparation of the oysters was also supported by members of the local community. Hopefully, these large oysters will be breeding next season and release larvae in such a high number that this will kick-start the population´s natural growth along the coast line, so Celine Gamble of the Wild Oysters Project. There is a new film about the activities on the  ZSL website and on YouTube.

Report - Conference
Progress in marine conservation 18 – 22 September 2023

On invitation of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the German Oceanographic Museum / OZEANEUM, about 200 scientists and representatives of national and international nature conservation authorities as well as NGOs and nature consultant bureaus from 16 countries came together from 18 to 22 September 2023 in Stralsund. In more than 50 plenary talks on 30/10 target and Marine Protected Areas, Offshore Wind Energy, Fisheries(management), biodiversity monitoring, re-introduction of species and restoration of oyster reefs and seagrass meadows, the participants discussed ways to stop the loss of marine biodiversity and how to come into action. The oyster community was represented by Bernadette Pogoda, Philine zu Ermgassen and Marina Albentosa as speakers, giving an overview of oyster restoration in Europe (see below). Katrin Wollny-Goerke from the NORA secretariat contributed to the conference with two posters on NORA and NORA 5 which have been developed by the Secretariats´ team (Hein Sas, Andreas Essenberger, Katrin Wollny-Goerke).

Bernadette Pogoda gave a deep insight in the PROCEED and RESTORE projects, and the challenges of offshore restoration. Philine zu Ermgassen provided an overview of oyster restoration in the UK, taking five projects as examples, e.g. for Longevity/Durability (ENORI), Outreach (Wild Oysters), Monitoring (Solent Seascape project), Working with the community (Seawilding), and Learning from others (Natur am Byth). Marina Albentosa presented the Mar Menor Initiative with their sub-projects like RemeDIos, RESALAR, MIToYSTER, and explained the ecosystem services provided by native oysters. A lot of participants were not only astonished but were even enthusiastic about all these ongoing activities. We are very grateful that Bernadette, Philine and Marina have presented their experiences and brought in their expertise of oyster restoration across Europe.

The conference was structured into plenary sessions with in-person and online talks and eight workshops. In the workshops, the participants developed recommendations to policy – so-called action points – how to move on for a better protection of the marine environment. These action points were compiled to a “Note of the Chair” which was submitted to the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, to be included into the foreseen German national Marine Strategy. It is intended to submit the action points also to the relevant Regional Seas Expert groups.

The Note of the Chairs can be downloaded at the BfN-Website.

Conference OSTREA 2023 in Brest, France, 08 September 2023

The first national conference on Ostrea edulis in France took place at the 8th of September in the famous Océanopolis in Brest. About 150 participants attended “Ostrea 2023 - The flat oyster: an example of ecological transformation?”

A conference report will follow soon.

NATURA 2000 Award 2024 - Call extended until 12 October 2023!

The deadline for applications to the 2024 edition of the European Natura 2000 Award has been extended! Applications for all categories will now be accepted until 23:59 CET, 12 October 2023.

The Award is a unique opportunity to show the many different ways the Natura 2000 network can be protected and managed. In this edition, they particularly encourage applications to the Marine conservation category and applications from Estonia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. Maybe this could be relevant for some members of the NORA community, e.g., from Ireland ….

Take a closer look for more information here.


Stechele Brecht, Barbut Leo, Lacroix Geneviève, van Duren Luca A., Van Lancker Vera, Degraer Steven, Gavazzi Giacomo Montereale, Bossier Peter, Declercq Annelies M., Nevejan Nancy (2023):
Northern Europe’s suitability for offshore European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) habitat restoration based on population dynamics. In: Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 10, 2023.

Bos Oscar G., Duarte-Pedrosa Stephanie, Didderen Karin, Bergsma Joost H., Heye Sonia, Kamermans Pauline (2023):
Performance of European oysters (Ostrea edulis L.) in the Dutch North Sea, across five restoration pilots. In: Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 10, 2023.