During the 19th century, the European oyster was very common in the Belgian Marine Waters, but since the end of the 20th century, the species is virtually extinct. Its extinction can be explained by several causes, being the removal of hard substrates due to the use of bottom trawling techniques, overharvest of the biogenic reefs, introduced diseases,... ;
Following on the reintroduction of undisturbed hard surfaces (artificial and/or restoration of habitat in the near future), the Belgian government voluntary runs a feasibility study in order to stimulate the presence of adult oysters and/or the development of biogenic reefs. The feasibility study aims to develop the most successful scenario's in order to stimulate the reintroduction of the species and will describe a stepwise approach and progressive implementation of different measures, taking into account the changes of its initial habitat.
After this study, there will be measures taken, compulsory of voluntary, in order to stimulate, hopefully in the most effective way, to obtain the colonization of the European oyster. The follow-up of this feasibility study is undefined at this moment and not taken up in this rapportage.
Methodology – the study is a desk study that will consult the existing project and will try to assemble the succesfull measures of former reintroduction projects into a feasible scenario. The most recent knowledge of the species, all factors with a negative of positive impact on survival and reproduction of adult oysters, as well as the knowledge of the Belgian North sea should be taken into account. The study will indicate which management and policy measures should be taken up in order to facilitate the appearance of the European oyster.
1/3 of the Belgian North sea a Natura 2000 site and the (former) hard substrates and former oyster beds are or were present in this area. This study can define more specifically policy and management measures that should be taken up to protect or facilitate the survival of the European oyster.
The windmills are as well (artificial) hard substrates. Because of the absence of fishery and maritime transport, the marine environment is less disturbed and is a profit for some species. There is a project of aquaculture of mussels started up. This study will focus and eventually recommend measure to be taken in order to facilitate the presence of the European oyster as a wild population.
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
- Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
- MPA management and/or enforcement