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The International Conference for Shellfish restoration made its first appearance in the UK this August 2011 and it was very good news for shellfish. The conference took the theme “Shellfish Our Undervalued Resource” and looked at all the benefits that shellfish can provide in addition to their better known attributes of being delicious and health giving food.
Many of the speakers were making a strong point that many of the benefits shellfish populations provide such as denitrification and water clarification can be provided just as well by farmed shellfish and keynote speaker, Robert (Skid) Rheault the director of the East Coast equivalent of the ASSG (the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association) will be providing an article based on his talk for the next issue of the Grower. But his starting slide saying “Just because I represent industry doesn’t automatically mean that I’m wrong or that I don’t care about the environment.” set the scene for a lively talk.
The benefits that have accrued from restoration work in USA have been remarkable but then there has also been considerable investment – finding ways to get the benefits without wasting financial resources is the challenge for us in the UK and mainland Europe and our growers in Scotland look like being one of the best potential resources, as our web manager Tristan Hugh Jones so well illustrated in his talk on their restoration efforts in Loch Ryan.
There will be a full account of the meeting and more photos in the next issue of the Grower! All presentations can be accessed at www.aqua.stir.ac.uk/shellfish2011
Janet Brown, Conference organiser - 1st September 2011