The first stock of native flat oysters from Orkney Shellfish Hatchery has been released into the ocean as part of a local restoration project.

Orkney Shellfish Hatchery (OSH) is a multi-species aquaculture hatchery supplying premium shellfish products to the restoration and farming markets,

The latest release, which saw more than 11,000 of Orkney Shellfish Hatchery’s land-grown, premium native oyster spat planted into the ocean on the west coast of Scotland, was orchestrated by a Scottish restoration project dedicated to replenishing depleting shellfish stocks in Scotland’s seas.

OSH said the project aligns with the hatchery’s mission “to become the market-leading producer of the highest quality native oyster spat” and supports its continued focus on aiding the restoration of Europe’s shellfish stocks, which have fallen dramatically.

Dr Nik Sachlikidis, Managing Director of the Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture portfolio, of which Orkney Shellfish Hatchery forms part of, said: “Since inception in 2017, we have invested heavily into the latest hatchery technologies and bio-secure systems in a bid to ensure we only produce the highest quality shellfish products. Not only does this ensure that our products are given the very best chance of wild survival, but it also mitigates the risk of adding further diseases to our seas.

“Seeing the first release of our native oyster spat into the ocean is a huge milestone for our team and hatchery and is just the start of many releases we hope to do alongside restoration projects at a global scale.”

Since the release, the hatchery has made additional spat sales to local oyster farming companies, who will further grow the oysters to market size. By providing native oysters that can be further developed for commercial sale, OSH hopes to reduce the need for wild harvesting.

Plans are also in place for the first release of the first European lobster product from OSH later this year.

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