Vanishing Oyster Reefs

Oyster reefQuotes taken from the Nature Conservancy’s 2009 report ‘Shellfish Reefs at Risk: A Global Analysis of Problems and Solutions’

“In most individual bays and ecoregions there has been a >90% loss in oyster reef habitat. In some bays, losses are >99%”

“Globally, 85% of oyster reefs have been lost, making oyster reefs one of the most severely impacted marine ecosystem on the planet”

“In 1864 alone, 700 million European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) were consumed in London, employing up to 120,000 men in Britain to dredge oysters”

“Shell piles in the southwest of France contain over 1 trillion shells apiece”

“Chesapeake Bay reefs are closer to 1% remaining than 10% remaining”

“They [oyster reefs] are functionally extinct with less than 1% of prior abundances remaining in many bays (37% of bays) and ecoregions (28% of ecoregions), particularly in North America, Australia and Europe”

“Nearly half of the assessed shellfish populations were either moderately or highly threatened by overfishing and environmental degradation”

“Oyster reefs are at less than 10% of prior abundance in most bays (70%) and ecoregions (63%)”

“Most wild Ostrea edulis populations in Europe were removed between 100 and nearly 1000 years ago, but in just the past decade (1990s), a wild population in the Gulf of Thessaloniki (Greece) collapsed from more than 1000 tonnes of harvest annually to a point where it is now difficult to find just 60 individual oysters with a dredge”

About The Author

Scott serves as Director of Development & Communications for Audubon Canyon Ranch (focusing on preservation, education and conservation science) and has almost fifteen years of experience spanning for-profit and nonprofit sectors in biotech, wildlife conservation and management, communications, and philanthropy. In addition to a strong track record in organizational growth and leadership, he is the founder of Urban Bird Foundation and Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, and presided over ECHO Fund, a coastal protection and restoration organization, as President for four years. Scott holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy, degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology and Environmental Sciences, and has complemented his studies with a Master's certificate in Environmental Resource Management.

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