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Glenmorangie saves oysters from extinction
Published:  25 May, 2017

Scotch whiskey producer Glenmorangie has reintroduced native oysters to coastal waters in the Scottish Highlands after a century’s absence with ambitions of a sustainable future.

Glenmorangie committed to a sustainability project in 2014 with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society known as the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP).

Hamish Torrie, director of corporate social responsibility, The Glenmorangie Company, said: “Glenmorangie’s distillery has stood on the banks of the Dornoch Firth for over 170 years – and we want to ensure that the Firth’s pristine habitat will be preserved and enhanced over the next 170 years.

“This restoration of oyster reefs in the Dornoch Firth, which is an internationally recognised special area of conservation, will help us realise our long term vision of a distillery in complete harmony with its natural surroundings.”

The project’s vision is to restore oyster reefs to enhance biodiversity and also act in tandem with the anaerobic digestion plant to purify the by-products created through the distillation process.

Glenmorangie recently opened its €6m anaerobic digestion plant at its distillery, which is expected to purify up to 95% of its waste water with the remaining 5% of the organic waste naturally cleaned by the oysters.

Native oysters flourished in the Firth up to 10,000 years ago before being decimated in the 19th century due to overfishing.

Dr Bill Sanderson, associate professor of marine biodiversity at Heriot-Watt, said: “Oyster reefs are amongst the most endangered marine habitats on Earth and it is thanks to Glenmorangie’s foresight and long term commitment that we can create a pioneering reef restoration project in the Dornoch Firth.

“It will take many years, but we have the ambition that the DEEP project is an example that could be replicated in other parts of the world.”