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Stirling hosts major international shellfish conference

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The University of Stirling will host the International Conference for Shellfish Restoration from 23 to 28 August, the first time that the conference has been held in the UK in its 26 year history. This year’s theme is Shellfish: Our Undervalued Resource.

The conference has been organised by Dr Janet Brown of the Institute of Aquaculture who, along with her colleague Dr Liz Ashton, found two live oysters at a secret location on the Firth of Forth in 2009.

Dr Brown says: “I hope that the conference will help efforts throughout the UK to restore native oysters and, in particular, plans for a community project for native oyster restoration on the Firth of Forth.

“Experts from all over the world will debate current thinking about the future of shellfish – a resource that has been under appreciated for too long – and particularly what can be done to restore Scottish oyster populations in the Forth.”

Shellfish have an important role to play in issues that affect us all, including reducing climate stress, coastal protection, habitat provision and water purification. At a time when Scottish shellfish production has increased dramatically, it is timely to have Dr Robert (Skid) Rheault, Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association in the USA discuss the contributions that shellfish farmers make. Prof. Gef Flimlin of Rutgers University New Jersey, USA will discuss ideas on how to redevelop reefs and set up some remarkable community projects.

Dr Brown says: “The conference will highlight the real value of shellfish, not simply as something both delicious and health giving to eat, but as ecological stepping stones to a richer and more productive marine environment.”

Full particulars about the conference are available at www.aqua.stir.ac.uk/shellfish2011

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