Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 19, Number 3, July-September 2006
|Page(s)||283 - 287|
|Published online||25 November 2006|
Return of the native – is European oyster (Ostrea edulis) stock restoration in the UK feasible?
CEFAS Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset,
DT4 9EE, UK
2 CEFAS Lowestoft Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, UK
3 CSL, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 2 March 2006
Throughout much of the UK and in Europe generally the native oyster is in a severely depleted state in the wild. In order to address and potentially to reverse this situation Ostrea edulis was designated as a named species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as part of a national commitment to the International Convention on Biodiversity. Amongst other initiatives, some of which are summarised in this paper, a feasibility study was carried out to evaluate all the factors, including an economic assessment, relevant to a programme of stock restoration in the UK. The study showed that there is a considerable body of data on the biology, ecology and distribution of O. edulis to inform restoration projects. Appropriate legislation is in place to allow for restoration. Non-marketable costs and benefits were estimated. They provide an idea of the high value that may be placed on biodiversity aspects. Nevertheless, this study also shows that stock restoration can be commercially viable if fishery prices and yields are sufficiently high. Restoration efforts and associated studies elsewhere have shown the potential for success of native oyster stock regeneration, especially in disease-free areas. For these, there is a very strong element of re-creating and conserving an ecological resource. The relaying of cultch is seen as an essential component of a successful oyster restoration programme and the use of sanctuaries is generally considered beneficial. The loss of the standing stock is a limiting factor and re-stocking is an effective strategy. There is a basic genetic similarity of wild European O. edulis populations such that the source of stocks is not critical. There are some problems with hatchery rearing from these, but using breeding ponds or importing part-grown oysters are viable alternatives.
Key words: Oyster / Ostrea edulis / Restoration
© EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD, 2006
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