Oyster reefs benefit humans and the environment through a suite of ecosystem services. A single oyster can filter up to 240 liters of water a day, resulting in increased water quality and clarity and support a unique and highly diverse community of fish and invertebrate marine species. At the same time, oyster reefs are the world’s most threatened marine habitat, with an estimated 85 percent loss globally.
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In celebration of World Endangered Species Day and International Day for Biological Diversity, Mary Kay Inc., a global leader in corporate sustainability, announced its collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and European partners to support native oyster restoration projects in the UK and continental Europe.
TNC helped to launch the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA), a European network made up of governmental agencies, scientists, NGOs, oyster growers, and private enterprises. The teams are collaborating on the restoration of the native European flat oyster habitat so it once again supports the biodiversity that relies on it and helps improve water quality.
“Oyster reefs are some of the best investments we can make in conserving natural systems,” said Dr. Elizabeth McLeod, who leads on reef conservation for TNC’s Global Reef Program. “Healthy oyster populations ensure cleaner water and help shield coastal areas and the people who live there from the impacts of climate change. With support from funders like Mary Kay, TNC can restore and protect these important systems for the long term.”
Mary Kay’s partnership with TNC and the NORA network will support projects that protect biodiversity and marine resources across Europe. Examples include:
- OYSTER RESTORATION SITES IN THE UK
- The Blackwater, Crouch, Roach, and Colne Estuaries’ Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ): this 284 square kilometer marine protected area was designated in 2013 for both native oysters and native oyster beds. By area, it is the largest restoration project in Europe.
- The Solent (the strait of water that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland UK): its oyster populations have been exploited since Roman times. In fact, between 1972 – 2006, it was Europe’s largest self-sustaining oyster fishery. However, overfishing, disease, and predation caused its collapse and eventual closure in 2013 with only very limited, occasional access to fishers since that date.
- OYSTER RESTORATION IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE
- The German North Sea: This area is typical of much of Europe where the native European oyster was historically widespread, but it has been classified as functionally extinct since the mid-20th century. Individual live specimens are only rarely found, and the species is on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. This project is developing and testing offshore methods for the long-term restoration of oyster stocks in the area.
“Mary Kay is proud to support The Nature Conservancy’s work to help reintroduce the native European oyster to restore critical marine biodiversity,” said Deborah Gibbins, Mary Kay’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Nature Conservancy’s vast experience in oyster reef restoration on four continents gives us confidence in their efforts to revitalize these rare and critically endangered habitats in European marine waters. At Mary Kay, we’re focused on leaving the planet better than we found it. That includes protecting creatures large and small.”
To read more about Mary Kay’s commitment to sustainability, visit marykayglobal.com/sustainability and download Mary Kay’s global sustainability strategy, Enriching Lives Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.
About Mary Kay
One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her dream beauty company in 1963 with one goal: enriching women’s lives. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. As an entrepreneurship development company, Mary Kay is committed to empowering women on their journey through education, mentorship, advocacy, networking, and innovation. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skincare, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay believes in enriching lives today for a sustainable tomorrow, partnering with organizations from around the world focusing on promoting business excellence, supporting cancer research, advancing gender equality, protecting survivors of domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Learn more at marykayglobal.com, find us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter.