Fal Oysters

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What are my special features?

The Fal Oyster has a round irregular shaped shell which has a rough surface. The colour of the shell is brown with blue/brown edges. The size of the oyster is around 110mm. The flesh is cream with a grey edge and has a firm texture. Taste qualities include notes of lettuce and a mild copper finish.

Fal Oysters are only harvested from 1st October to 31st March using traditional sailing vessels.

What is my history?

The Fal estuary in Cornwall has one of the few remaining stocks of native oysters in the United Kingdom, and the only one of wild oysters. Belonging to the Ostrea edulis species, the oysters live on the river bed or on the layer of shells deposited there.

A law dating from 1868 makes it illegal to gather the oysters with mechanical means or from crafts other than sailing boats or rowing boats.

The Cornish port of Truro is the last port in the world that is made up entirely of sailing boats and rowing boats that are still used for commercial purposes.

The Port of Truro Oyster Fishermen’s Protection Association, have drawn up regulations to protect this local resource. They use dredges, small hand manoeuvred nets which only capture molluscs with a shell larger than 67mm in diameter, and work within a very short fishing season. The oysters are then cleaned and sold within restaurants and shops in the county. The Fal Oyster has been granted PDO status.

Why am I forgotten?

Despite sustainability measures and the abundant supply, the Fal Oyster risks extinction due to a variety of factors. The oysters are threatened by overfishing of minimum size oysters, water quality during the summer months, invasive species (slipper limpet), capital dredging near the fishery and the selling price.

Don’t lose me…Eat me!

Product Category:

Fish

Area of Production:

Fal River Estuary, Cornwall

Slow Food UK Contact:

arkoftaste@slowfood.org.uk

Producers:

Fal Oysters Ltd

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