Politics of Care in Oyster Restoration Across the Northern Atlantic

NWO Veni Grant 2024-2028
There is increasing interest in bringing back oyster reefs that once covered North-Atlantic coasts. Reef restoration involves practices of caring and repairing, and assumes human intervention. But what is a good reef to restore for the future? And what knowledge should guide how we care for it? Through comparative ethnographic fieldwork in the US, UK and the Netherlands this research investigates the processes of in-/exclusion of different values and knowledge practices in oyster restoration initiatives More info here

ECOAMARE – ECosystem-based Adaptive MAnagement for REnewable energy in a sustainable North Sea



Photo by V. Boekestijn

Ocean Nexus program University of Washington
Environmental Policy Group Wageningen University

The UN Decade of Nature Restoration and the UN Decade of Ocean Science highlight ‘knowledge co-production’, ‘inclusive governance’ and ‘gender equity’ as crucial for effective and just marine nature restoration, yet it is unclear how this translates into the actual practices and projects rehabilitating coastal and marine nature.

This pilot research project focuses on oyster restoration practices in Western Europe and the East coast of the US. Oyster restoration in these regions show a variety of approaches, and different kinds of collaborations between scientists, non-profit organizations, oyster farmers, volunteers and others. While such collaborations are generally promoted, it brings different perspectives to the table regarding how restoration should be done, and with what purpose.

Through interviews and site visits, this project explores the different values, knowledge practices and nature perspectives that underlie oyster restoration initiatives, how these relate to each other, and how they – in their interaction – shape the way oyster restoration is done across the Atlantic. Understanding how different actors in oyster restoration and their perspectives relate to each-other, and the power differences involved, is vital to successful and equitable restoration programs, and provides a basis for inclusive marine restoration policy.  

Focus: Oyster restoration practices, who and which knowledge is involved, how collaboration across different projects reveals different values and understandings of nature that inform different approaches and equity implications.  

Project PI: Dr. Annet Pauwelussen 

Researchers: Veerle Boekestijn, MSc, Wisse van Engelen, MSc, Dr. Annet Pauwelussen

Photo by V. Boekestijn

Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus project Gender and Diversity in Marine Nature Restoration (2020-2022)

Horizon 2020 EURASTiP project
Workpackage 3: social sustainability in aquaculture (2019-2002)

FAO Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) project ‘Identity and Small-Scale Fisheries’ (2019-2020)

Exploring Complexity in the Building of Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia (2011-2015)