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Posted Thu Feb 3 2011: from AIBS, via EurekAlert:
Oysters at risk: Gastronomes' delight disappearing globally
A new, wide-ranging survey that compares the past and present condition of oyster reefs around the globe finds that more than 90 percent of former reefs have been lost in most of the "bays" and ecoregions where the prized molluscs were formerly abundant. In many places, such as the Wadden Sea in Europe and Narragansett Bay, oysters are rated "functionally extinct," with fewer than 1 percent of former reefs persisting. The declines are in most cases a result of over-harvesting of wild populations and disease, often exacerbated by the introduction of non-native species.... Beck's team examined oyster reefs across 144 bays and 44 ecoregions. It also studied historical records as well as national catch statistics.... The survey team argues for improved mapping efforts and the removal of incentives to over-exploitation. It also recommends that harvesting and further reef destruction should not be allowed wherever oysters are at less than 10 percent of their former abundance, unless it can be shown that these activities do not substantially affect reef recovery.
[Read more stories about: overfishing, toxic water, invasive species]

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'Doc Jim says:
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,/ "You've had a pleasant run!/ Shall we be trotting home again?'/ But answer came there none--/ And this was scarcely odd, because/ They'd eaten every one.

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