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Oysters’ Return to Belfast Lough Surprises Scientists

27th December 2020
The European flat oyster Ostrea edulis was last recorded in Belfast Lough in the Victorian era The European flat oyster Ostrea edulis was last recorded in Belfast Lough in the Victorian era Photo: H Zell/Wikimedia

Marine scientists have been baffled by the unexpected return of wild oysters to Belfast Loughas the Guardian reports.

The threatened shellfish species was last recorded in the Northern Ireland lough in the late 1800s before overfishing destroyed the native population.

However, a chance photograph of a specimen led to a full survey the past summer which discovered more than 40 European flat oysters dotted around the inlet.

And it’s believed that some of these oysters could be resident in the lough for more than 10 years.

But the question remains as to how the species was reintroduced after all this time.

One possible explanation is that reduced shoreline sediment from activity at Belfast’s port created the optimum conditions for young oysters swept in from the Irish Sea to grow.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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