Thursday, May 21, 2009

85% OF WORLD'S OYSTER REEFS HAVE DISAPPEARED

Tree Hugger - The first-ever comprehensive review of the state of the world's shellfish has just been released by the Nature Conservancy and the prognosis (as you may expect) really isn't good. . . Globally, about 85% of the world's oyster reefs have vanished and in many areas oyster reefs are functionally extinct.

The report says that the main factors in the decline of oyster reefs are destructive fishing practices, coastal over-development, the effects of upstream activities such as altered river flows, dams, poorly managed agriculture, and poor water quality.

Oyster reefs act as natural water filters and improve water quality, food and habitat for fish, crabs and birds. And perhaps of increasing importance is the fact that they also as natural coastal buffers, helping to protect shorelines and keep coastal wetlands intact, thereby protecting coastal communities against storm surges and sea-level rise.