1. Provision of cultch
The Modiolus reef Restoration Plan long term objective is “to restore the Strangford Lough Modiolus biogenic reef feature to Favourable Conservation Status”. One of the intervention action elements involves the creation of sites within Strangford Lough that are favourable to Modiolus modiolus spat settlement by providing artificial substrate (cultch).
In order to compare the success of the experiment, the areas investigated will include pristine and damaged Modiolus beds already monitored by the Modiolus Restoration Research Group (MRRG). The MRRG will produce an analysis of the settlement and recruitment data recorded along with a cost benefit analysis between natural and provided cultch.
2. Aquaculture work
The second intervention element of the Modiolus Restoration Plan involves producing young Modiolus for experimental reseeding of historical Modiolus beds. The MRRG is culturing Modiolus in the laboratory with the objective of re-seeding historical Modiolus beds and monitoring their recovery. To produce Modiolus spat and subsequently undertake the re-seeding programme, the MRRG has set up an experimental Modiolus hatchery using Queen’s University Belfast’s aquaculture facilities at the Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. The outputs will include:
1. The provision of a detailed description of the larval development cycle of Modiolus
2. The production of sufficient Modiolus juveniles for the experimental re-seeding phase.