The theme of the conference, “Shellfish: our undervalued resource”, reflects the UK perception of shellfish as something that is good to eat, often in upmarket restaurants.
Shellfish fisheries and aquaculture are indeed a very important part of the UK economy; shellfish reefs however form an ecosystem that provides myriad benefits (“ecosystem services”) many of which have been lost through acute fishing pressures, disease, pollution and other factors.
On a global scale, shellfish reefs are considered amongst the most threatened habitats. This conference hopes to change perceptions of the value of shellfish as a resource by bringing scientists from all over the world to discuss how we can learn from experience overseas, particularly in the US, where there has been considerable investment and community-based efforts to restore and enhance shellfish populations.
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