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The Fate of UK’s Oysters
By Angela Messina, October 25, 2012 @ 10:15 AM (EST)
Source: BBC Science and Environment

Oyster beds once coated the shallow floor of the North Sea surrounding Britain. Now scientists estimate that about 90 percent of the nation’s oysters are lost—some even estimate as many as 99 percent.

Oyster depletion in the UK is due to a large number of causes, including overfishing, disease, invasive species, and environmental factors.

UK scientist Philine zu Ermgassen is looking to a U.S. model of restoring oyster beds which involves spreading oyster shells (called culch) discarded by restaurants along the sea floor in order to create a surface for new oysters to cling to.

Attempts also include resituating lone oysters into more densely populated areas in order to increase their chances of reproduction. Some scientists are also calling on Brits to continue to eat locally harvested oysters to provide an economic incentive for oyster conservation efforts.

The loss of the UK’s oysters is not an isolated event; scientists estimate that 85 percent of the world’s oyster reefs have been lost.

Read more here.

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