High praise for ground-breaking oyster project



A ground-breaking project to restore native European oysters to the coastal waters around its Highland home, has been rewarded with a series of coveted environmental accolades.

Heriot-Watt University along with Glenmorangie and the Marine Conservation Society, pioneered a project to return oyster reefs to the nearby Dornoch Firth to enhance biodiversity, in an environmental first.

It is planned that the oysters, renowned for their ability to filter water, will also act in tandem with the Distillery’s new anaerobic digestion plant, to purify the water that the Distillery releases into the Firth.

This year marked a significant milestone for the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP), Glenmorangie’s partnership with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society, as the first oysters were returned to the Firth – more than 100 years after they were wiped out by overfishing.

Work is now under way to secure funding for the project’s second phase, which aims to build an established reef within five years.

The awards included:

The Hydro Nation award for its innovative work in water treatment, at the VIBES – the Scottish Environment Business Awards. These awards are dedicated to recognising and rewarding businesses that contribute to Scotland’s sustainable environment;

The Luxury with a Heart accolade, at the Walpole British Luxury Awards, for its aim to enrich an important marine habitat and for its commitment to a sustainable future. The Walpole awards celebrate the best high-end products and services from a range of British businesses;

The Corporate Award at the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards, which celebrate and recognise the best of conservation in Scotland.

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.

“We are thrilled to pick up these top awards and are confident the DEEP project is an example that could be replicated in other parts of the world.”

Dr Peter Nelson, Operations Director at The Glenmorangie Company, said:  “We’re delighted that our vision of protecting and sustaining the fragile beauty of Glenmorangie’s Highland surroundings has been celebrated by those who champion the environment.

“We hope these awards will further raise the profile of DEEP, as we, and our partners, dedicate efforts to the next stage in this pioneering project – building an established oyster reef in the Dornoch Firth within five years.”