Restocking of the native oyster, Ostrea edulis, in Shetland: habitat identification study

Richard L. Shelmerdine, Beth Leslie

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


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. Due to their 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.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherScottish Natural Heritage
Commissioning bodyScottish Natural Heritage
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)978-1-85397-657-5
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series



  • Habitat mapping
  • Survey
  • ROV survey
  • Predictive habitat mapping
  • European oysters


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