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Welcome to the Shellfish Centre newsletter!
Through biannual newsletters we aim to keep you informed with updates from the different research and innovation projects and connect to the wider community promoting the shellfish sector in Wales.
Please send information to that you wish to share within the Shellfish Centre network and be included in our next newsletter.
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In this edition of the Shellfish Centre newsletter we will share progress updates for our R&I projects, news about the DTU & Shellfish Centre Knowledge Exchange Workshop, the NAEMO Workshop and the COCKLES' Workshop and recent activities from The Wild Oysters Project in Conwy Bay. We will also share shellfish-related reports, publications and events as well as include tasty seafood recipes.
Aerial image of School of Ocean Sciences, Menai Bridge

DTU & Shellfish Centre Knowledge Exchange Workshop

On March 5, Shellfish Centre staff met up online with colleagues from DTUs (Technical University of Denmark) Shellfish Centre for an informal knowledge exchange workshop. This online ‘away day’ was a great opportunity for staff from both centres to connect, catch-up and share the work they are undertaking with their respective industries. The workshop was also a chance to showcase the innovative research being undertaken and how this is supporting sustainable growth of the shellfish sector in Wales and Denmark.

Presentations were fast paced and informative, covering a broad range of topics (water quality, oyster restoration, suspended culture, molecular and hydrodynamic modelling and drone-based mapping tools). All presentations can be seen on the Shellfish Centre website 

NAEMO Workshop
The NAEMO network held a half-day workshop 'Defining barriers & identifying solutions for mussel aquaculture expansion' on Wednesday 24th March at the National Shellfisheries Association, 113th Annual Meeting ONLINE: 22nd- 25th March 2021.

The workshop brought together perspectives from across the sector (industry, research, policy/governance) to jointly identify and discuss barriers for sustainable expansion of mussel aquaculture whilst identifying potential solutions and routes to sector development. The interactive plenary session will be summarised in a policy brief, highlighting development needs to strengthen the sector.

The COCKLES project works to achieve a strong, viable and sustainable cockle production and improve the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The final COCKLES conference took place virtually on March 8th, 10th and 12th 2021 'to raise Scientific, political and societal attention to cockles'. It included conventional scientific communications and also exhibitions devoted to the general public, stakeholders and students. The conference was a great opportunity to promote the main results obtained in the project. Check out their outcomes  
Norovirus Workshop

The sustainability and growth of the shellfish aquaculture sector relies on clean and healthy coastal water as set out in the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. On 14th October 2020, the Shellfish Centre at Bangor University, supported by Seafish and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB), hosted a digital workshop entitled ‘Scientific Understanding and Proposed Regulation for Norovirus in Shellfish’.

The workshop brought together representatives from the shellfish industry, EU regulatory agencies and researchers in the field of shellfish and human health to exchange information and views around approaches to regulation of shellfish microbial quality and shellfish production. 
The workshop concluded that developing an effective test, which can determine the infectivity of norovirus and the associated risk to consumers, in addition to improving monitoring of environmental water quality should be target priorities. In the long term, persuading governments to implement policies for the protection of water quality, and thus ensuring wastewater companies practice transparent reporting and meet their obligation to deliver clean water, will be critical.
The full workshop report can be found here
ROV trials

In 2020, a 'BlueROV2' remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) was purchased for The Shellfish Centre. After the obvious and frustrating delays due to Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to get out earlier this year to test the ROV at local shallow water sites (including the Menai Strait and Llyn Padarn). We have added an underwater GPS system to the ROV, which allows us to record its track underwater and have also added two GoPro cameras to the top of the rig to film in stereo-video. This is crucial when using the ROV for survey as it will allow us not only to identify and count organisms living on the seabed, but also measure them accurately for assessments of abundance and biomass.

The ROV will have many uses for The Shellfish Centre, but one of the first projects we have planned is to develop use of the ROV for surveying inshore scallop beds. This method will be non-invasive and avoids any seabed impacts associated with other types of surveys (such as with fishing gear). There may be populations of scallops inshore that could support a viable commercial scallop diving fishery. Data is required to determine abundance levels, ensure protection of populations, and enable sustainable management of any future harvesting activities. We look forward to working with the 
Welsh Fishermen's Association on this project over the summer months.
Bonamia ostreae screening
Bonamia ostreae screening

North Wales once had a prolific fishery for the native oyster, also known as the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis, which succumbed to overexploitation and disease, most notably the parasitic infection, Bonamia ostreae, which remains a threat. The team recently conducted fieldwork to collect samples of potential vector species that can carry and spread Bonamia ostreae. We will use genetic analysis to determine the prevalence of the disease within the samples collected from Menai Strait and Conwy catchment. The Shellfish Centre is working with Conwy Mussels Company to investigate the disease dynamics of Bonamia ostreae to explore the viability of reinstating the native oyster both for ecological enhancement and to diversify the active fishery.
The Shellfish Centre projects aim to address the main issues industry have identified:
  1. Water Quality
  2. Seed supply limitations
  3. Space
  4. Diversification
  5. New Fisheries
Find below a brief description of a few of our collaborative projects with industry:
Validating particle tracking models using bivalve larvae distribution data
RV Prince Madog
The Shellfish Centre is working with project partner Extramussel Ltd on one of the main barriers to growth in the shellfish sector sourcing of juvenile shellfish or ‘seed’. Researchers are monitoring the distribution of shellfish larvae in the Irish Sea using this data to help validate the particle tracking models and reduce model uncertainty from species behaviour.
Molecular tools for bivalve larvae identification
Shellfish production in the Menai Strait and North Wales is limited by the availability of juvenile bivalves and knowledge on the location of present standing stocks. By working with Deepdock Ltd, researchers are collecting data to measure and potentially predict larval abundance in Welsh waters. This project aims to improve resilience of shellfish culture and management, allowing for greater investor confidence and growth in the shellfish sector.
Mussels in Swansea dock
Movement of juvenile mussels or mussel 'seed' between waters and rising sea temperatures around the coast of the UK have led to the northward spread of non-native mussel species, Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Although an excellent seafood, hybridisation can occur with native mussel species, Blue mussel Mytilus edulisFowey Shellfish Company are collaborating with the Shellfish Centre to investigate the taxonomic credentials of the seed mussel on grow-out lines at their Swansea Dock facilities to develop minimally destructive molecular testing protocols.
Read more>>
The Shellfish Centre is working with Câr-Y-Môr, a Community Benefit Society aiming to improve the coastal environment and people’s wellbeing in Wales. They are currently piloting the integrated culture of seaweed, native oysters, mussels and scallops at two open water sites around Ramsay Sound. This project will involve on-site monitoring and molecular/visual laboratory analysis to aim to provide a greater understanding of the biological and environmental variability at their sites. Results will inform development of new and improved to strategies for deployment and management of shellfish production.
Read more >> 
Recent shellfish-related news and marine activities taking place in Wales and around the UK.
In the 6 April 2021 edition of the Fish Farmer, it was reported that  Britain’s shellfish producers were threatening legal action against the Westminster government, claiming they have been misled over post-Brexit arrangements with the EU. The shellfish industry, which includes aquaculture and fisheries businesses, have suffered more than most other seafood sectors since the transition period ended on 31 December because live mussels, cockles, oysters and other molluscs are no longer allowed to enter the EU unless they are from waters with the highest purity rating.

It has since been reported in the Mail (26 April) that the 'EU may have to lift British shellfish ban after UK seas are 'upgraded' following Brussels' rule change. The 'shellfish war' between the UK and the EU moved closer to a resolution after the Independent Food Standards Agency have upgraded 11 out of 266 sea areas to Class A waters. However most British shellfish remains banned by the EU and one of the UK’s most sustainable seafood farms faces closure because of the dispute. Offshore Shellfish in Devon grows mussels on ropes in Lyme Bay and, unlike salmon farming, requires no feed or chemicals. About 95% of the up to 2,000 tonnes of mussels it harvested annually went to the EU but it and many other companies are caught by EU food safety rules requiring shellfish from “class B” waters.
England's first oyster restoration hatchery has opened in the Solent on the south coast of England. The hatchery, opened in March by the  University of Portsmouth  and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), will provide a million native oysters a year for a restoration project that could transform the Solent’s water quality and increase its marine biodiversity.

Numerous restoration projects are taking place around Europe for the native oyster, but supply issues surrounding the lack of oysters that are biosecure, genetically diverse and locally adapted is the main limiting factor in almost every project. It is hoped that the Solent Oyster Restoration hatchery will solve this problem in the Solent and could act as a blueprint for other restoration projects throughout Europe. The hatchery is based at the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Langstone Harbour and the work being carried out is the next step for BLUE’s Solent Oyster Restoration Project.

At the end of March, 1,300 native oysters have been returned to waters in Conwy Bay as part of an ambitious restoration project to bring back this species back from the brink of extinction. Together, international conservation charity ZSL, Blue Marine Foundation and British Marine are restoring native oysters to UK waters through The Wild Oysters Project.

Wales once had a prolific fishery for the native oyster which provided a vital food source to the local coastal communities and contribution to the Welsh economy. Locally to Conwy Bay, there were productive native oyster beds during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Menai Strait and around Anglesey. Although fishing for native oysters had begun much earlier, with native oyster shells discovered on the Great Orme, as well as other parts of Wales, dating back to the Neolithic and the Bronze Age (about 12,000 years ago)! Native oysters provide huge benefits to our coastal waters by helping to clean our seas and acting as an important habitat for marine wildlife. Sadly only a few small native oyster populations remain in Wales, but by working together we hope to help to restore this historically important species and support an ocean full of life.
Future-proofing toolkit
Calling all shellfish businesses - we need your help! 
Businesses, the public sector and people across Wales are taking steps to make our Nation a better place to live and work. We are asking businesses across the shellfish sector to be part of this and join the journey by future-proofing your business to enhance its sustainability and prosperity. The Business Future-proofing Toolkit is a best practice guide, to help your business operation and strategy build resilience, prosperity and a better natural environment for yourself and future generations, helping you prepare your business for the future.  To access the toolkit please click on this link
World Ocean Day
World Ocean Day is on 8th June and is to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life.

No matter if we live on the coast or far inland, we all need a healthy ocean to survive and thrive. The ocean generates most of the oxygen we breathe, helps feed us, cleans the water we drink, and regulates our climate. And by protecting our ocean, we also protect our climate, and our future. World leaders will soon be making critical decisions, including whether to protect 30% of lands, waters, and ocean by 2030, also known as “30x30.” To help these efforts succeed, there will need to be a strong show of support, and you can help. Register your celebration for World Ocean Day 2021 now by taking part or running an event and sign the 30x30 Nature Petition
One Planet, One Ocean: Mobilizing Science to #SaveOurOcean- UNESCO
Shared below are recent reports and publications that are related to shellfish. Interesting articles published from variety of research groups, some including researchers from The Shellfish Centre and Bangor University.
van der Schatte Olivier et al., 2021
Full publication available here >>
Handal et al., 2020
Full publication available here >>
Smyth et al., 2021
Full publication available here >>
Joyce et al., 2021
Full publication available here >>
Past events the Shellfish Centre has attended or held:
Future events the Shellfish Centre plan to get involved with:
Lewis Le Vay
Lewis Le Vay
Operation Director
Karen Tuson
Karen Tuson
Project Manager
Ros James
Ros James
Administration Assistant
Jane Smith
Jane Smith
Administration Assistant
Shelagh Malham
Shelagh Malham
Research Fellow
Jon King
Jon King
Research Fellow
Kata Farkas
Kata Farkas
Research Officer
David Smyth
David Smyth
Research Officer
Claire Szostek
Claire Szostek
Research Officer
Sophie Ward
Sophie Ward
Research Officer
Julie Webb
Julie Webb
Research Officer
Ben Winterbourn
Ben Winterbourn
Research Officer
Jenna Alexander
Jenna Alexander
Research Support
Maria Hayden-Hughes
Maria Hayden-Hughes
Research Support
Susan Allender
Susan Allender
Lab Manager
Shellfish Centre logo
Information about a different shellfish species in every issue of the Shellfish Centre newsletter. In this edition we focus on...
Great Scallop, Pecten maximus
Great scallop
The Great Scallop, also known as 'King Scallop', are widely distributed along the coastline of the British Isles.
  • Great Scallop can grow up to 15cm long, with fan-shaped shell valves with an 'ear' on either side of the hinge of the shell.
  • Individuals have a lifespan of 11-20 years, with numerous concentric ridges on the shells that can be used to age scallops.
  • Found in clean firm sand, fine or sandy gravel in a shallow depression in the seabed, up to 110m depth. 
  • Can swim if disturbed or to escape threats such as smothering or increased wave exposure. Scallops swim by rapidly clapping the shell valves and expelling the water.
Scallops are a commercially-important species and sustainability varies greatly.
  • Most scallops are caught by dredging, which can be very damaging to habitats. Hand-diving is a much more sustainable option, and farmed scallops are also a better choice.
  • Avoid eating scallops below their legal minimum landing size (100-110mm) and if eating fresh from the sea, avoid their breeding season (April to September).
source sustainably - shop locally - eat seasonally
Recipe by:
Sian Davies - Port to Plate
BBQ Sea Bass 
(serves 2)

You will need:

1 filleted sea bass
1 garlic clove, grated
1 shallot cut thinly
10g root ginger
20g salted Welsh butter
1 red chilli cut into slices
Parsley - small amount cut
Salt & Pepper

1. Prepare the foil to hold the contents by folding the edges upwards so the butter doesn’t escape onto the BBQ.

2. Prepare the vegetables and spices.

3. Place the foil on the BBQ and melt the garlic and ginger together.

4. Once the butter has melted, place the Sea Bass onto the foil, skin side down. Throw the chilli, shallots and some salt and pepper over the fish.

5. Cook for 10 minutes and poor the melted butter over the fish regularly. If you have a lid for the BBQ, close the lid, if not, cover with more foil.

6. Cook until the skin is brown and the meat is nice and white. Enjoy! 
Recipe by:
Beca Lyne-Pirkis - Port to Plate
(serves 4 generously)

You will need:

3 medium tomatoes
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1.5kg Mussels
125ml champagne
125ml double cream
Handful of fresh tarragon
Laverbread Soda Bread

1. Score the bottom of the tomatoes and submerge in boiling water for 1 minute. Carefully remove the skins
from the tomatoes then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the tomato flesh
into 1cm dice and pop to one side.

2. Finely chop the onion and garlic and soften in the butter over a gentle heat, this will take 5-8 minutes.

3. Whilst the onion and garlic are softening, prepare the mussels by checking through the mussels.
If any are open, the tap or squeeze shut – if any don’t shut, then discard. Remove any beards and rinse to get rid of any debris.

4. Once the onion and garlic are soft, add in the mussels and the champagne, cover and leave to
steam for around 5 minutes
– shaking the pan every so often.

5. Whilst the mussels are steaming, chop the tarragon.

6. After the 5 minutes have passed, add the cream, tarragon and diced tomato,
stir and serve with
some warm laverbread soda bread.

Mussels are 100% safe to eat as long as you follow 2 simple guidelines.
  • Before cooking, discard any mussels if the shells don’t close when tapped.
  • After cooking, discard any mussels that don’t open.
Recipe by:
Mark Gray

Menai Seafood Company

You will need:

1 ¾lb (340g) fillet of Pollack
½ fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 lemon, sliced
A handful mixed fresh herbs, such as tarragon, dill, and parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6

2. Prepare a large piece of parchment paper, it should be large enough to fold over your piece of fish with a generous 3-4 inches around the edges. If cooking multiple pieces of fish, use a separate piece of parchment for each one. Place parchment on a sheet pan and fold in half, then unfold with one side laid flat on the pan.

3. Arrange fennel and shallot slices in a layer in the centre of one side of the parchment. Lay fish on top of vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Top with a few layers of shallots, butter, slices of lemon, and sprigs of fresh herbs. If using a butterflied fish, place herbs inside of fish cavity.

5. Finally, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of white wine.

6. Fold over other half of parchment, then fold and pinch along edges to seal. You’ll end up with a semi-circle of parchment with crimped edges not.

7. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until cooked through (time noted for a ¾-inch-thick fillet, adjust as necessary for thicker/thinner pieces of fish).

8. Check if done cooking by inserting an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the fish (it should read 145°C). Carefully cut open packet, avoiding escaping steam, and serve.
Recipe by: Nia Griffith – Port to Plate
You will need:

1 Welsh Crab - dressed
1 can of chickpeas
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seed Oil (or 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil)
1 tsp of Garlic paste or Garlic granules
Halen Môn Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season.
1 tsp of Chilli Flakes (optional)

1. Drain the chickpeas with a sieve over a bowl and keep the water to one side.

2. Place the chickpeas, with some of the water from the can, in a blender, with the Garlic, Olive Oil, Toasted Sesame Oil, Halen Môn Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season, add some Chilli flakes for a bit of a kick.

3. Add the brown crab meat from your dressed crab. Blend until it reaches a hummus like consistency that you're happy with.

4. Place in ramekin dishes and place some white crabmeat on top.

5. Serve with vegetable sticks, crisps or breadsticks, or just enjoy alone as part of a salad.

6. Enjoy with some Barti Spiced Rum
Access previous newsletter editions here:
September 2020 newsletter
June 2020 newsletter
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