PROCEED is funded by the Federal Ministry fort he Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) through the Federal Program for Biodiversity. It is based on important preliminary results of the ongoing project RESTORE, which identified an essential need for a sustainable seed oyster production in order to achieve a successful restoration of the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis. To ensure the availability of young oysters, PROCEED is engaged in implementing an oyster hatchery at AWI Helgoland to establish a healthy broodstock and a sufficient seed oyster production for North Sea restoration and nature conservation measures. Biological and technological research questions will be addressed and results will be applied directly. The overall goal is to facilitate the return of the characteristic species community of oyster beds and its valuable ecosystem services. PROCEED will supply restoration measures in the German Bight with healthy oysters.
PROCEED will furthermore support the NORA network (Native Oyster Restoration Alliance), which was founded 2017 on the initiative of AWI and BfN. As an international platform, NORA will promote the development of strategies in sectors like regulation, monitoring, biosecurity and technology transfer. This collaboration will facilitate native oyster restoration and reinforcement projects in Europe and contribute accordingly to strengthen native oyster populations within their whole European area of distribution.
PROCEED will furthermore focus on knowledge transfer to different target groups (e.g. visitors/ tourists, nature conservationists, pupils and teachers): An interactive online knowledge platform, exhibitions at the "Erlebniszentrum Naturgewalten" on Sylt and the "Blue House Aquarium" on Helgoland as well as specifically developed educational material will raise and improve a general awareness for this former native species and the importance of its restoration. The native oyster will be characterized as an ecological key-player and oyster reefs will be used as an example to explain biodiversity as a stabilizing factor for the wider ecosystem and to underline the general significance of ecosystem services.