Establishing the scientific bases and technical procedures and standards to recover the European flat oyster production through strategies to tackle the main constraint, bonamiosis.
The European flat oyster has been part of the human diet for many centuries. High mortality episodes and overfishing decimated the populations of O.edulis in Europe through the first half of the 20th century. Then, two diseases (due to Marteilia refrigens and Bonamia ostreae) spread in early 1970s and 1980s, drastically reducing the production. Despite the new management practices and intensive repletion programmes, the production of O. edulis has remained low since that time. The recovery of European flat oyster production could be an important opportunity for the shellfish industry in Europe.
A total of five shellfish producers’ associations from four different Member States and three SMEs in major oyster production countries in Europe, concerned about the above mentioned issues and being aware of recent scientific progress in selective breeding programmes for bonamiosis tolerance, have decided to work together with the common general objective of facing the challenge of establishing the scientific and technical bases, procedures and standards that allow the recovery of the O. edulis production, through the development of strategies to tackle the main constraint, bonamiosis. To successfully achieve this goal those European research centres and universities which have mainly contributed to scientific progress on O. edulis recovery and selective breeding programmes for bonamiosis resistance, are hired by the SME-AGs and the SMEs involved in the project, to carry out the relevant research.