Chichester Harbour Oyster Partnership Initiative - CHOPI
In parallel to most Ostrea edulis populations in the UK, the population in Chichester Harbour was in decline. There was evidence to suggest recruitment failure and it is believed that low density was restricting fertilisation success. A lack of common agreement amongst the stakeholders existed. In February 2010 a unique partnership between Sussex IFCA, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Natural England and the local fishermen named the Chichester Harbour Oyster Partnership Initiative (CHOPI) was established. The emergent trust which developed enabled the stakeholders to work together on potential practical solutions to the decline in the oyster stock. The initiative was to create pockets of broodstock by relaying adult oysters at high density in a number of areas hopefully boosting fertilisation success and kick-starting wider repopulation (these areas being voluntarily closed to fishing). In November 2010 the local fishermen participated in catching 2.3tonnes of broodstock and relaying at approx 30m2. During spring/summer 2011 monitoring by Southampton University indicated successful reproduction was occurring and Cefas continue to provide valuable guidance. The final alliance is with the local Council Environmental Health teams who are enabling CHOPI to gather CPUE and population size structure information during their classification monitoring regime, long-term this will monitor the success of the initiative. The way forward: CHOPI members wished to further develop the initiative and reached the conclusion that for this to occur, a structured fisheries management plan is required, this is currently underway. Through trust building the finance and resource burden has been spread between the CHOPI partners and through being united well structured collaboration could be the key to seeing the desired outcome for all stakeholders; a revived oyster stock in Chichester Harbour.
To watch a short feature film on the initiative click on the 'play' icon below