Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) have been introduced worldwide for aquaculture, which can benefit food sovereignty and economic development; however, established non-native populations may present risks for local organisms and habitats. We reviewed the documented introductions of C. gigas by country to evaluate factors related to introduction, establishment and production, and to determine impacts of feral populations. To date, C. gigas has been introduced in 64 countries and 10 territories, has been established in 32 and contributes to cupped oyster production in 36 (additionally, three native range countries). Oysters were more likely to be introduced and to establish in higher-latitude countries, but the economic factor of per capita Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDPpc) served as a stronger explanatory variable than latitude for introduction. Earlier introduction and the use for extended periods in aquaculture, not just in trials, further increased establishment. Commercial production increased with coastline length and when established populations were present, but in contrast to establishment, declined at higher latitude. Effects of feral populations have been studied in 11 countries, spanning a range from negative to facilitative as expected for an ecosystem engineer, while reaching levels of concern warranting removal from coastlines in the UK, Norway, Sweden Australia and South Africa. The use of GDPpc in analyses revealed a widespread inequity in terms of low investment in Pacific oyster aquaculture in poorer countries, while richer countries were able to invest not only in aquaculture but also in studies of environmental impacts of feral oysters.
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