Groundbreaking report on Oyster habitat restoration to be published  – Nature News Scotland

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A GROUNDBREAKING publication is due to be released this week on how to restore native European oyster habitats.

The compendium of articles is said to detail more information than any publication before  about the value that shellfish habitats bring to society.

The report will be published in a special issue of Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.

NORA Conference 2019 - Nature News Scotland
Dr. William Sanderson, Morag Garden, Prof. John Baxter, Hamish Torrie, Mairi Gougeon MSP, Dr. Bernadette Pogoda, Prof.Dr. Henning von Nordheim & Dr. Peter Nelson.

The Issue of Aquatic Conservation will be released this week ahead of the  UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, beginning in 2021 which aims to give a focus to ecosystem restoration.

Marine scientists, conservationists, administrators and oyster producers from across Europe gathered to ‘Unlock the blueprint for oyster restoration’– involving at least 15 countries.

Plans across Europe will see millions of native oysters (Ostrea edulis) returned to the seas around France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, UK and Spain, where they were wiped out by overfishing as long as a century ago.

A scuba-diver inspecting oysters - Nature News Scotland
Glenmorangie’s DEEP project lead scientist Dr Bill Sanderson carefully lays Native European Oysters on the bottom of the Dornoch Firth

The findings come from Edinburgh’s global meeting of the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA), which was held in May 2019.

Dr Bill Sanderson, MASTS Reader in Marine Biodiversity at Heriot-Watt said: “This volume is a milestone for marine environmental restoration, containing state-of-the-art scientific evidence of, for example, the value of shellfish habitats to society; whether it’s their ability to store carbon, filter large volumes of seawater, or create habitats that are biodiversity hotspots.”

Dr Philine zu Ermgassen, from the secretariat for the pan-European NORA, added: “The publication shows the way forward and identifies the top 40 most important questions that need to be answered to make oyster restoration a reality across its former range.”

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