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Ours To Protect Week 36: Dublin Bay Oyster Project

David Lawlor's Dublin Bay Oyster Project aims to reintroduce oysters to Dublin to help clean the ocean and combat climate change.

This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with David Lawlor, the mastermind behind the Dublin Bay Oyster Project, a new initiative aimed at reintroducing oysters to the Dublin Bay area. What many people don't realize is the incredible impact that shellfish, particularly oysters, can have on the health of our oceans. Oysters are natural water purifiers, capable of filtering up to 190 liters of water per day and removing pollutants from the sea.

The native Irish oyster used to be a common part of sea life in Dublin, but their popularity as street food in the 1800s led to their extinction in the area. David Lawlor, who is also the Managing Director of Watermark Coffee, has been at the forefront of climate-based businesses, previously launching Woodland Coffee and Green Ocean Coffee before embarking on this new project.

The importance of reintroducing oysters to Dublin's waters lies in their ability to compete for nitrates and feed on algae, ultimately leading to clearer water. This is crucial not only for the health of the oceans but also for the seagrass, which acts as a powerful carbon sink, sequestering carbon at a rate 35 times faster than the rainforest. Additionally, the presence of seagrass and seaweed provides vital habitats for juvenile fish, invertebrates, and marine predators. Oysters, in this sense, are a keystone species and a nature-based solution to combat the negative impacts of climate change. Furthermore, oysters help stabilize the seafloor, contributing to the overall health of the marine ecosystem.

David Lawlor's inspiration for the Dublin Bay Oyster Project stemmed from his experiences as a scuba diver and sailor, witnessing the lack of marine life in areas like Scotsman's Bay. This realization of biodiversity loss and the stark contrast to what the marine environment may have been like centuries ago was a driving force behind the project. Drawing inspiration from similar initiatives around the world, David is determined to make a positive impact on the health of the oceans.

As David Lawlor continues to champion climate-friendly initiatives, the Dublin Bay Oyster Project is poised to make a significant contribution to the recovery of our oceans, which have been under immense strain due to the effects of climate change. Through this project, the hope is to not only reintroduce oysters to Dublin's waters but also to promote the restoration of a thriving and diverse marine ecosystem.

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