A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Some of you may have seen a group of Helford Marine Conservation Group Volunteers out and about on the river doing something that at first sight may not seem to be conservation minded! This is the removal of the non-native and invasive Pacific Oyster Magallana gigas.

Left to their own devices these Oysters can change the character of our mudflats, shingle beaches and rocky shores if they become established. Natural England have set up a monitoring and removal project for the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation and has provided us with equipment to remove as many as we can over the winter months, with permission from The Duchy of Cornwall. Most importantly we have set up four transects in different parts of the Helford to monitor any re-settlement, so we can judge how effective we are in trying to reduce the population. It is thought that if we can reduce numbers as much as possible they will not be able to establish as they have in other parts of the country and mainland Europe.

In recent years it has been possible to spot many new species on our shores, and indeed they are by no means all a problem and those that are tend only to be an issue for marine commerce like the Slipper Limpet Crepidula fornicata that is a nuisance in our Fal and Helford oyster beds.

A rise in average sea temperature has seen changes in distribution as some species track north, other are bought by us attached to shipping from further away to become established here to a greater or lesser extent. Or, in the case of the Pacific Oyster, introduced as a commercial species for farming. Some are classed as non-native, a few as invasive non-native for more information see http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-5150 . Ironically most problem species for the commercial shellfisheries have been bought in by themselves by the movement of Shellfish and equipment around our coasts.

If you would like to help, please contact Coordinator Sue Scott This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . It is quite strenuous work over slippery rocks and not easy to get to them all but strangely satisfying too! Also, if you spot them anywhere else around our coast please report them to your local Environmental Record Centre. https://www.orks.org.uk.

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Published: Jan 2018
Author: Mrs. Sue Scott (Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area Coordinator)