Whisky oysters project tipped to double biodiversity

REINTRODUCING oysters near Glenmorangie distillery is expected to double biodiversity in the Dornoch Firth, according to a study published last night.

The distillery has been working with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society since 2014 to bring oysters back to the firth.

The team aims to have four millions oysters in the firth by 2030.

Its latest research studied an oyster fishery at Loch Ryan in Galloway to work out how the Dornoch project could improve biodiversity.

Naomi Kennon, a doctorate student at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The findings from our research in Loch Ryan are extremely exciting, demonstrating that biodiversity will likely double over a decade once oyster restoration projects are complete.

“This means the population of species will increase in a balanced way.

“Our data has also shown a link between increased shell material as the oyster population grows and increased biodiversity.”

Professor Bill Sanderson from Heriot-Watt University added: “This study is a rare example from a long-established dredge fishery whose practices appear to have allowed rare oyster habitat and the associated community to persist, thereby providing a valuable insight into the recovery of biodiversity in European oyster habitat restoration.”

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.

Plus, don’t miss Blair Bowman’s whisky column in the April issue of Scottish Field magazine.