The winners have been announced for the Zoological Society London (ZSL), University of Portsmouth, and Native Oyster Network's 2020 competition to photograph native oysters in their natural habitats.
Earlier this year, ZSL, the University of Portsmouth and the Native Oyster Network called on the public to enter their best images or videos of our beloved native oyster and help spread the word! The underwater photography competition encourages divers, wildlife photographers, fishing enthusiasts, people living by the coast and oyster lovers to help gather images of the iconic native species.
Although the Network has lots of wonderful images of native oysters, they are often portrayed as a seafood dish or captured out of the water which makes communicating the importance of restoring this species and the underwater habitat they create much more difficult. Capturing images and videos of living native oysters on the seabed – wherever that may be around the UK coastline can drastically help to change these perceptions!
The competition received a fantastic response, despite the disruptions of COVID-19, with over 40 fabulous entries, it was not easy for the expert panel of judges to choose their favourites – but at long last, we have the winners…
Dr Gerald Legg
BSAC Member, Biologist, Zoologist and volunteer with Sussex SeaSearch
Dr Gerald Legg submitted this incredible image that he took back in September 2006 as part of a survey in Brighton Marina looking for seahorses. During the survey, Gerald found native oysters attached to the pontoons surrounded by squirts, sponges, hydroids etc. showing that you do not have to go to the tropics to have such colourful underwater life. To see more of Gerald’s wonderful images please visit his website.
Sorrel took this wonderful image at the Helford Native Oyster Fishery, Cornwall. Our judges loved how, even though at first the crab seems to take centre stage in this photograph, the Native Oyster shines as the true hero of the image, in the heart of its habitat, supporting a wide array of life and activity.
Dr Paul Naylor
BSAC member, Marine Biologist, Underwater Photographer and Author of Great British Marine Animals
A huge congratulations to the competition winner, Dr Paul Naylor, who came across this native oyster while diving at Brighton Pier.
Here’s what he had to say about his amazing image:
The delicate gape of oysters is attractive, but their shells are usually rather cryptic, so the prominent position and colourful sponge covering on this one really caught my eye. I also liked its mussel neighbours, a union of hard-working filter feeders!
To see more of Paul’s fantastic underwater photography please take a look at his Instagram page.
The Native Oyster Network would once again like to thank everyone that participated in the competition, spread the word to friends, family, and colleagues as well as the incredible judges and prize givers – ZSL, BSAC and Oyster Diving. With the help of everyone, we have certainly managed to fulfil the goals of the #NativeOysterQuest and look forward to being able to showcase all the wonderful images in the coming months, to help champion the importance of native oyster restoration.