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Welcome to the Shellfish Centre newsletter!
Through quarterly 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 be focusing on oysters.
World Oyster Day was recently celebrated on 5th August, a new Welsh oyster restoration project was launched 'Wild Oysters', the Shellfish Centre hosted the Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland) Online Symposium as well as much more oyster news.
Native oyster clok below the water surface- David Smyth
Native oysters and brittle star- Emma Ackerley, ZSL
Oyster nursery- BLUE
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, involving oyster research:
Oyster trestles
Assessing detection of human noroviruses in oysters, as well as mussels, & the effectiveness of depuration processes in collaboration with Menai Oysters and Mussels Ltd.
Scientist working in laboratory
The Shellfish Centre is working with Conwy Mussels Company to investigate the disease dynamics of Bonamia ostreae and establish the most suitable disease resistant/resilient strain of potential native oyster brood-stock. 
read more>>
Native oysters below the water surface
Alongside Conwy Mussels Company, we aim to produce particle tracking and habitat suitability models which will investigate the feasibility to reinstate the native oyster both for ecological enhancement and as an active fishery in Wales.
read more>>
Welsh oysters skiffs- R. J. H. Lloyd
The collated historical archives will be presented in a display at the Conwy Mussel Museum to reignite interest in Ostrea edulis and the vital contribution the fishery made to the local communities and the Welsh economy, to highlight the potential for the future.
read more>>
Predictive modelling of oyster habituation
A handful of Pacific oysters
In collaboration with Tethys Oysters Ltd., The Shellfish Centre will undertake predictive modelling to assess the spawning and settlement possibilities of Crassostrea gigas, Pacific oysters stocked in Angle Bay, Milford Haven to inform licensing and wider policy. 
read more>>
Recent news and activities relating to oysters species and The Shellfish Centre.
World Oyster Day- Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland)
World Oyster Day

On 5th August, we celebrated World Oyster Day to raise awareness of the considerable number of different oyster species. Oysters have been consumed by humans for centuries dating back to the Roman Empire. Oyster fishing used to be an important livelihood and provide a vital food source to coastal communities. Today, oysters are considered a delicacy, high in calcium, iron, and protein. Unfortunately, due to disease, habitat loss, poor water quality and over-fishing, those once abundant wild oyster populations have been considerably reduced or disappeared completely with 85% of oyster reef habitat lost globally.  Not only is a food source threatened, but also the important ecosystem services and processes oysters provide such as improved water quality, carbon capture, nursery and feeding grounds for fisheries, and increased biodiversity.  World Oyster Day is to raise awareness of threatened oyster reef ecosystems and promote consumption of oysters harvested from sustainable fisheries.
New 'Wild Oysters' project

Also on World Oyster Day a new oyster restoration project was launched, 'Wild Oysters'. Thanks to the players of Postcode Lottery, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE)British Marine have been awarded £1.18m to recover Native Oyster populations in the UK. Oyster nurseries full of oysters will be put under marinas which will release millions of oyster larvae into the sea & encourage oyster reefs! The Wild Oysters project aims to boost the understanding of the importance of Native Oysters in UK.
Bangor University will be working with the project partners to deliver the new Wild Oysters project locally in the River Conwy. We are excited to announce that Maria is going to be working as the Local Project Officer splitting her time between the Wild Oysters project and The Shellfish Centre. Maria will be working with local schools and arranging site visits (when possible, and following local regulations)  for students to gain hands on knowledge about the oysters.
Further information can be found in this news article.
The Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland) Online Symposium
Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland)
Online Symposium

On 7th September, the Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland) Online Symposium took place, hosted virtually by The Shellfish Centre. During the symposium we heard progress updates from restoration projects around the UK & Ireland and reflected on the outcomes and actions from our previous meeting in December 2019. The “European Native Oyster Habitat Restoration Handbook – UK & Ireland”, to which many Network members have contributed to, was launched.  We also facilitated speed updates from projects, research groups and industry representatives, discussion sessions with the following themes: Sourcing of Oysters for restoration, Collaboration and join work, Horizon scanning & research gaps and a online virtual poster board also took place via social media. If you would like to catch up on what you missed, the full Symposium is available to watch on YouTube.
The Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) and the Native Oyster Network (UK & Ireland) announced the consultation of the draft Biosecurity Guidelines for oyster restoration in Europe which closed 22nd September. After evaluating the comments and suggestions, a final version of the guidelines will be published and launched in winter 2020. Visit NORA to find out more.
Port to Plate interviewed, Andy Woolmer, about his experience as a oyster fisher working in Wales and what he hopes the future holds for the Welsh Seafood industry. 
Third Shellfish Centre Advisory group meeting took place at the end of June 2020 and the minutes from this meeting and all previous meetings can be found on the Shellfish Centre website. The meeting highlighted the need to discuss the potential for expansion of shellfish production in Wales and all members felt a workshop to facilitate discussions between industry, regulators, government and researchers was needed.
Scientific Understanding and Proposed Regulation for Norovirus in Shellfish

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.

This workshop aims to bring 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 Norovirus Workshop hosted by The Shellfish Centre, Bangor University supported by Seafish and Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) on Wednesday 14th October 2020.

You can register for the workshop here.
Five webinars have been made available on the Welsh Government Youtube Channel providing an overview of the content of the Welsh National Marine Plan such as the location of Strategic Resource Areas. The videos also provide an overview of marine planning in Wales.  
The Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis, met the Fishing and Seafood Community in Tenby at the end of August ahead of the second reading of the landmark Fisheries Bill in September. Through the flagship Fisheries Bill, Wales and the other Devolved Administrations will see a significant increase in their decision-making powers in fisheries, and for protecting the precious marine environment. This includes new powers for Welsh Ministers to bring forward regulations to manage fishing activity across Welsh waters.
North Wales Police are working with partners to tackle exploitation in the shellfish gathering sector along the North Wales coastline after a rise in concern over unsafe working conditions and illegal activity.
July 2020 saw the return of laboratory and field work, following strict Covid-19 risk assessments. Researchers have been enjoying the return to work and sampling during the last of the summer months. 
Other shellfish related publications from Bangor University:
Carss, D. N., et al. (2020). Ecosystem services provided by a non-cultured shellfish species: The common cockle Cerastoderma edule. Marine Environmental Research, p.104931. 

Collins, C., et al. (2020). Impacts of climate change on aquaculture. MCCIP Science Review 2020, 482–520.

Galley, T. H., et al. (2020). Factors affecting byssus attachment in juvenile scallops, Pecten maximus (L.). Aquaculture
Oyster related publications:
Allison, S., et al. (2020). Strongholds of Ostrea edulis populations in estuaries in Essex, SE England and their association with traditional oyster aquaculture: evidence to support a MPA designation. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 100(1), 27-36.

Bennema, F. P., et al. (2020). Ostrea edulis beds in the central North Sea: delineation, ecology, and restoration. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Branigan, S., et al. (2020). Modern middens: Shell recycling for restoring an endangered marine ecosystem in Victoria, Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration.

Cocci, P., et al. (2020). Transcriptional Alteration of Gene Biomarkers in Hemocytes of Wild Ostrea edulis with Molecular Evidence of Infections with Bonamia spp. and/or Marteilia refringens Parasites. Pathogens, 9(5), 323.

Helmer, L., et al. (2020). Ephemeral detection of Bonamia exitiosa (Haplosporida) in adult and larval European falt oysters Ostrea edulis in the Solent, United Kingdom. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 174, pp. 1-7421. 

Pogoda, B., et al. (2019). The Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) and the Berlin Oyster Recommendation: bringing back a key ecosystem engineer by developing and supporting best practise in Europe. Aquatic Living Resources, 32. 13. 

Smyth, D. M., et al. (2020). Wild gregarious settlements of Ostrea edulis in a semi‐enclosed sea lough: a case study for unassisted restoration. Restoration Ecology, 28(3), pp. 645-654.
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
Esther Howie
Esther Howie
Project Manager
Karen Tuson
Administration Officer
Ros James
Ros James
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
Philippa Bayford
Philippa Bayford
Research Support
Maria Hayden-Hughes
Maria Hayden-Hughes
Research Support
Susan Allender
Susan Allender
Lab Manager
Information about a different shellfish species in every issue of the Shellfish Centre newsletter. In this edition we focus on...
Native oyster, Ostrea edulis
The European flat oystercommonly known as 'native oyster', were once widely distributed in the shallow subtidal, settled on hard shell substrate, along the coastline of the British Isles.
  •  Native oysters can from 5-20 cm in width, although most individuals do not exceed 11 cm in diameter.
  • Individuals can live up to 30 years, and become sexually mature after 3-4 years.
  • The genus Ostrea 'flat oysters' takes its name from its shape (left/lower valve convex, right/upper valve almost flat).
  • When prevalent could be found in estuaries, sea locks and open coastal seas, up to 80 m depth. 
  • If undisturbed the oysters can congregate and form complex reef structures, which provides habitat and refuge for a many other different species.
In the UK, native oyster populations have decreased by 95% since the mid 19th century.
  • Effects of over-fishing, pollution, disease and bottom trawling fishing led to the species demise.
  • Native oyster reefs are one of the most threatened marine habitats in Europe.
Wild stocks are depleted and although management of the fisheries is good, the native oyster is still vulnerable to exploitation. Marine Conservation Society (MCS) state that native oysters that have been caught at sea via low intensity fishing methods (powered by sail or oar) and farmed native oysters can be harvested sustainably. Fisheries are open from September to April and closed during the spawning period in the summer months.
source sustainably - shop locally - eat seasonally
Recommendation by:
Port to Plate

Closed oysters need to be ‘shucked’, which is something all fishmongers can do for you, or you can carefully do it yourself. It’s best to use a specialist oyster knife, which is short and blunt with a finger guard. See video for a guide.

Once shucked, keep oysters chilled and place back into refrigerator until required.

The common way is to eat oysters raw. Typically, raw oysters are served on the half shell with lemon for squeezing, also Tabasco sauce and shallot vinaigrette are optional.

Traditionally, people think champagne as an accompaniment to oysters, but have you tried them with Stout? 

The malty taste of Stout complements the oyster perfectly. Try it with some Menai Oysters and 'Black Rock' Stout by Purple Moose
Menai Mussels with Cwm Farm Nduja
Menai Mussels with Cwm Farm Nduja
(serves 2)
You will need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small fennel bulb (thinly sliced)
1 garlic clove (thinly sliced)
½ tsp of lightly crushes fennel seeds
50g Cwm Farm Nduja
150ml White Wine
1kg Menai Mussels, cleaned.
½ a small bunch of chopped coriander
30g roughly chopped parsley
Toasted sourdough to serve.

To clean mussels:
  • Wash the mussels under cold, running water. discard any mussels if the shells don’t close when tapped.
  • Pull off tough fibres (byssus threads) and remove any barnacles with a knife. Wash mussels again.

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the fennel for 10 minutes until caramelised and soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the fennel seeds and Cwm Farm Nduja, and breaking it up with the back of your spoon.

2. Pour in the white wine, add the mussels and stir really well. Put on a lid and cook for 5 minutes, shaking the pan until all of the mussels have opened (discard any that stay closed).

3. Stir really well, add the parsley and coriander and stir again, then serve with the sourdough.
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.
Oysters with laverbread and stilton
Recipe by:
Bryan Webb
Oysters with laverbread and Stilton
(serves 4)
You will need:
24 oysters, in the shell
100g of Stilton, grated
300g of full fat soft cheese
120g of tinned laverbread
1 lemon, cut into quarters

1. Closed oysters need to be ‘shucked’, which is something all fishmongers can do for you, or you can carefully do it yourself. It’s best to use a specialist oyster knife, which is short and blunt with a finger guard. See video for a guide.
Once shucked, keep oysters chilled and place back into refrigerator until required.

2. Blend the Stilton and cream cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

3. Put a teaspoon of laverbread in the bottom half shell of each oyster then place an oyster on top. Carefully cover each oyster with the cheese mixture and sit on a baking tray, keeping the shells tightly placed together so that they do not slide around. If liked, at this point you can refrigerate them until needed, for up to 6 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Put the tray of oysters in the oven for 8 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

5. Carefully transfer the cooked oysters to serving plates (warning: they will be very hot) and serve with the lemon wedges.
Spider Crab Welsh Rarebit
Recipe by:
Neil Davies of
Catch 22 Brasserie, Anglesey
Spider Crab Welsh Rarebit
(serves 4)
You will need:
8 thick sliced white bread
200g Welsh spider crab meat
75g Welsh Caerphilly cheddar, grated
25g grated Parmesan
50g plain flour
50g butter
250g full fat milk, room temperature
1 egg
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp paprika
Spring onions
1. Cook butter over medium heat, once melted add flour and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add the milk in three stages and bring to a simmer each time, beat out any lumps that form. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. 
3. Remove from heat, add Cheddar, Parmesan, paprika, and mustard powder, stir until all the cheese has melted.
4.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then beat in the egg.
5. Fold in the spider crab meat and then pour into a container to chill overnight in the fridge (or until set).
6. Once the mixture has set, preheat your grill to its highest setting. Spread the crab mix liberally over the bread slices and grill for 3-4 minutes until brown.

7. Garnish with thinly sliced spring onion and serve immediately.
Access previous newsletter editions here:
June 2020 newsletter
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