A comparative study of oyster reefs in the past and present has been carried out through a widespread survey that revealed that 90 per cent of the reefs have been destroyed. These reefs throve in most of the “bays” and ecoregions where the prized molluscs were formerly abundant.
In many places, such as the Wadden Sea in Europe and Narragansett Bay, oysters are rated “functionally extinct,” with fewer than 1 percent of former reefs persisting. The declines are in most cases a result of over-harvesting of wild populations and disease, often exacerbated by the introduction of non-native species.
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