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Flat oyster breeding line

Flat oyster breeding line

Oysters are important for a healthy underwater ecosystem: they build reefs, filter the water, recycle nutrients, store carbon and attract other species. Flat oysters are introduced in a number of projects of The Rich North Sea. This ensures a regular supply of healthy oysters. Preferably from the same country, so that as few oysters as possible have to be imported from other countries.

Need for disease-free oysters
For nature development projects with oysters, it is important that healthy oysters are used. This is not so easy, because many oysters in our region are infected with the Bonamia parasite. This parasite arrived in Europe in the late 1970s via oyster transport from California. It causes inflammations in flat oysters which can be fatal after a number of years.

Breeding oyster larvae and knowledge of oyster production
For the nature development projects of The Rich North Sea, healthy young oysters (oyster brood) are needed. With a few wild specimens that are free of the Bonamia parasite, the breeding line was set up. A challenging and innovative project. The breeding must start with healthy oysters, which will release their larvae in early summer. This is how we set up oyster breeding. Breeding flat oysters is quite difficult: they produce many larvae, but the chances of survival are small. Currently, a lot of research is taking place to improve the breeding of oysters. We are doing this in close cooperation with the expert group Flat Oyster Breeding & Research Netherlands (KOPON), of which The Rich North Sea is a member.

We are working towards:

  • A predictable and reliable production of Bonamia-free oyster larvae and young oysters (spawn);
  • Cost-efficient production of larvae and spawn;
  • Opportunities to scale up production;
  • Provision of suitable material for release into the wild.

More about this project

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