Oyster restoration project to publish ‘landmark’ report

An environmental project backed by whisky distillery Glenmorangie has announced it is going to release a “landmark” publication of the positive effects of oyster reef restoration.

A diver in the Dornoch Firth lays shells onto which oyster beds can be laid.

The compendium of article will be published in a special issue of Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems this week and will detail how shellfish can have positive impacts on local ecosystems, how to deal with oyster diseases and financing solutions for restoring native oyster beds throughout Europe.

The findings originate from a meeting of the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) held in Edinburgh last year which was hosted by Glenmorangie as well as other partners such as Heriot-Watt University and The Marine Conservation Society.

NORA is spearheading a pan-European initiative to restore millions of oysters to the seas off France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, the UK and Spain.

Glenmorangie has backed the project since 2014, working with Heriot-Watt and The Marine Conservation Society to reintroduce 20,000 oysters to Dornoch Firth, next to where the distillery is located, as a test run in 2018 in what is known as the Dormoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP).

Dr Peter Nelson, operations director of The Glenmorangie Company, commented: “We are incredibly proud to be helping to pioneer this vital environmental work with our partners and NORA, it is all part of our strategy, through our DEEP project, to protect and enhance the environment at the Glenmorangie Distillery on the Dornoch Firth, as part of making the distillery sustainable for future generations.”

Dr Bill Sanderson, MASTS Reader in Marine Biodiversity at Heriot-Watt, and who co-authored several research articles in the Special Issue, 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.”

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