Restocking of the native oyster, <i>Ostrea edulis</i>, in Shetland: habitat identification study

TitleRestocking of the native oyster, Ostrea edulis, in Shetland: habitat identification study
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsShelmerdine, RL, Leslie, B
Series TitleScottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report
Document Number396
Date Published2010
InstitutionScottish Natural Heritage

The native European oyster, Ostrea edulis, is a sessile, filter-feeding, bivalve mollusc, distributed widely from Norway in the north to Morocco in the south. Wild populations were once abundant around the Scottish coast and, during the 1800s, the main Scottish fishing stocks were located in the Firth of Forth, Loch Ryan, Orkney, Shetland and West Loch Tarbert. The largest of these fisheries were the Firth of Forth and Loch Ryan, with the main current Scottish stock located along the west coast. As a result of its widespread decline, the species has been included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is listed as an OSPAR priority species. This study aimed to identify suitable areas around Shetland for restocking O. edulis in the hope that, in the long term, native oyster beds will become self-seeding. Areas were identified from historical accounts, current records and cartographic tools.