Glenmorangie reintroducing native oysters to highland home
A total of 20,000 oysters are to be introduced into the sea near Glenmorangie’s highland home as part of the single-malt whiskey company’s project to restore oyster reefs fished to extinction a century ago.
Last year, Glenmorangie and its partners in the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP) placed 300 oysters in the protected waters of the Dornoch Firth to confirm the species could survive. The second phase of the project is to recreate entire reefs.
Glenmorangie claims this is the first time that anyone has tried to recreate a natural oyster habitat in a protected area in Europe. It believes that having established reefs in the Firth will increase biodiversity and act in tandem with its anaerobic digestion plant, to purify the surrounding seas of their distillation.
From this month, the native oysters, which have all been grown in the United Kingdom, will be carefully placed on the first of these reefs – specially created from waste shell to mimic their natural habitat.
If the trial is successful, the number of oysters placed on the reef will be increased to 200,000 over three years. Over five years, the population will be built up to four million oysters spread over 40 hectares, restoring the self-sustaining oyster reefs that existed in the Firth until they were fished out in the 1800s.
“We are very excited to move DEEP to its next stage and have been hugely encouraged by the enthusiastic support that our meticulous, research-led approach has received from a wide range of Scottish government agencies and native oyster growers – it is a truly collaborative effort. We are all very proud that in our 175th year the distillery has such a pioneering environmental project right on its doorstep,” said Hamish Torrie, Glenmorangie’s CSR director.