“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.”
Roughly 85 percent of the world’s oyster reefs have disappeared since the late 19th century, with many formerly prolific reefs rendered “functionally extinct” because of overharvesting and other manufactured causes, according to a new study published in BioScience [pdf]. …
Oyster reefs were once the dominant ecosystem in the world’s temperate bays and estuaries, but destructive dredging by fishermen, pollution and the spread of disease through the introduction of non-native oyster species have led to their widespread decline. …
“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.