Oyster reef in Dutch Voordelta officially protected

As of June 2, 2021, an oyster reef in the Dutch Voordelta is officially protected against damage by fishery. Such is decided by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, following commitment expressed by her to the Dutch parliament. 

The reef consists of a mixture of European native oyster (Ostrea edulis), Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas)and various other shellfish. It harbours a rich community of biota, different from and more varied than the community of the adjacent sandy sea floor. The Ostrea edulis population probably has its origin in the oyster culture of Lake Grevelingen; early this century an outlet between this lake and the Voordelta was opened year round, which substantially increased the ability of larvae to move seawards.

Location, extension and impressions of the reef are depicted below.

Figure explanation: (A) The Netherlands with (B) the location of the shellfish reef. Note the tidal water outlet (marked with a grey arrow) of Lake Grevelingen (‘LG’). (C) A detailed map of the extent of the shellfish reef with native oysters, with survey transect locations. (D) an aerial photo of the breakwater ‘Blokkendam’ which is the southward boundary of the reef. (E) An impression of the shellfish reef (photos D and E by Peter van Rodijnen).

The motivation behind the decision to protect the reef is important. Among other factors, native oysters have been recognized as a marine keystone species. In line with this, it is stated that, in the context of the upcoming evaluation and actualisation of the Dutch Nature2000 framework, it will be investigated whether native oysters can be included in the habitat types H1110 and H1140.

For further information please contact Hein Sas hsas@xs4all.nl