DEEPly Committed to a Thriving Oyster Population

May 3, 2019 by No Comments | Category Collaborations, Fisheries, Marine Directorate general, Marine Directorate Science, Marine News from other Organisations

Marine Scotland has recently been working in close partnership with the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP) initiative to make sure that a large number of molluscs are disease free. Pioneered by Glenmorangie, in partnership with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society, the DEEP initiative was created to restore native European oysters (Ostrea edulis) to the Dornoch Firth.

European oysters flourished in the Dornoch Firth up to 10,000 years ago before their rapid decline in the 19th century. Their return to the Firth for the first time in over 100 years began in March 2017; with 300 oysters from Loch Ryan finding a new home on the two sites in the Dornoch Firth. Heriot-Watt University plan to move approximately 20,000 oysters over the course of this water-purification project with the aim of building an established reef within five years.

And that’s where we come in.

Our colleagues in Disease Diagnostics have been performing the molecular screening for harmful pathogens including: Bonamia ostreae, Marteilia refringens and Ostreid herpesvirus-1, on behalf of Heriot-Watt University. Eann Munro, Disease Diagnostics Group Leader, has been overseeing the screening work and commented “Marine Scotland has been screening native oysters for three pathogens listed under EU legislation on behalf of the DEEP Project. Using highly sensitive, specific and rapid molecular assays we can rule out the presence of these pathogens in a timely manner. DEEP consider it is vitally important that the molluscs are screened prior to transfer to ensure that a high level of biosecurity is maintained. This is a very interesting conservation project and we are delighted that we are able to contribute to the success of the DEEP Project”.

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