The New Year is always a great time to reflect on progress for the past year and plan for the year ahead.
At a global level, observers would not see many encouraging changes which will improve our environment since this time last year.
Cuan Beo works at grassroot level. We are proud of our ability to get things done efficiently and make change at a local level.
In 2023:
i. We increased juvenile native oysters in Galway Bay by an estimated 20 million.
ii. We have developed the ‘Source to Sea’ Education programme piloted in Seamount College
iii. We have contributed to local and national policy on the marine environment in response to and participation in local authority activities.

Back in 2017, Cuan Beo was formed by local fishermen, shellfish farmers and citizens to address issues with our local environment in Galway Bay. Native oyster (Ostrea edulis) were in serious decline. Native oysters are a keystone species. They create a physical habitat, known as biogenic reefs, for other plants and animals and are key to maintaining high biodiversity. Moreover, these living reefs create underwater barriers to dampen wave action and reduce coastal erosion and flooding.
While native oysters and their habitat have been protected for some time, the status of native oysters in Europe is poor and the Oslo and Paris Conventions (OSPAR) classify them as threatened and declining. Native oysters are listed as a priority habitat in the UK and in many areas in Ireland, including Galway Bay.
The Inner Galway Bay oyster fishery has been documented as far back as 1500 while archaeological evidence suggests that oysters formed an important part of life here for almost 4000 years. When these ancient natural oyster habitats are affected, we all need to take heed!
Cuan Beo has developed significant expertise in oyster restoration, environmental education, and policy development in marine science. This expertise is now recognised across Europe, and we are regularly invited to participate in a diverse range of projects associated with oyster restoration, biodiversity enhancement, education and rural and coastal sustainability in mainland Europe.
Through Cuan Beo pilot initiatives to date, we have increased juvenile native oysters in Galway Bay by an estimated 20 million. We engage with other community groups in the area and support local policy and planning development agencies with our expertise and our work. In addition, we consciously spend the funding we raise within the local community. Over 90% of our funding raised is spent in the Galway / Clare catchment since 2017.

We continue to encourage new members to work with us – to learn about oyster restoration, to meet local people interested in environmental education and understand how we can influence policies at local, national and European levels.

You can contribute in several ways depending on your interests. Restoration requires a lot of physical work, spawning and on-growing juvenile oysters, moving them to ponds, settling them on crushed shell or deploying them at our pilot reefs in Galway Bay.
Maybe you prefer engaging with primary and secondary school children to support the national curriculum in developing their knowledge and practical sea skills in the Cuan Beo ‘Source to Sea’ programme. Or you might be interested in gaining an understanding of how our local initiatives can make a difference nationally and globally. We believe in direct action.

Join Cuan Beo today to make a difference locally, nationally and globally.