Wild Harbour Shellfish
Cornish Native ‘Fal Oysters’
Cornish Native Oysters or ‘Fal Oysters’ are wild native oysters found on the sea and river bed of the Fal Estuary and are famed for their distinctive sweet, fresh and delicate flavour.
For centuries, Cornish families have derived their livelihood from oyster dredging in the Carrick Roads and surrounding rivers. Many of the oyster boats, known as Falmouth Working Boats were built in boatyards around the Fal, with some of the oldest boats in the Oyster Fishery dating back as far as 1860.
The natural and wild fishery, where the oysters are not cultured or bred. There is a small amount of husbandry of the wild and natural beds as during the process of fishing the substrate (cultch) is moved by the dredge which keeps the fishery in good condition, and also occasional extra dredging of the beds without harvesting (describes as harrowing), further improves the oyster beds and encourages a good spat fall of youngers oysters to settle.
Fal River Oyster Fisher is the famous wild Native oyster of Cornwall, once prized by the Romans and Phoenicians who would sail over to get their Ostrea edulis fix. This well-known fishery is the most sustainable oyster fishery in England. It is the last oyster fishery in Europe, using only sailing and rowing boats to harvest oysters. The oysters in the river Fal estuary have been harvested in this same highly sustainable way for more than 500 years.
When working, the boats drag two or four small dredges. These dredges have changed little over the last 500 years. They are about three feet wide, with an iron top and bottom bar. They are pulled across the riverbed and hauled by hand over the side of the boat. The contents are tipped out, and the oysters sorted from the stones, weed and shells. Any oyster that is smaller than the statutory 2⅝ inches in diameter is returned to the riverbed to grow on.
Seasonality: March to October
The oysters are unpacked and placed into our depuration tanks, for a minimum of 42 hours. Wild Harbour is a fully approved depuration centre and each of our tanks can hold up to 600 oysters. We pack every Monday to Friday, with delivery overnight. The oysters will last for 4-5 days, stored on their cupped shells, they should also be kept refrigerated.
We’re pleased to work with many top chefs, restaurants and cafés, across the UK, who share our passion for the highest quality, sustainably caught Cornish seafood. Orders are taken and collected daily to bring the freshest produce from the boats to the kitchen, meaning not just more memorable meals for diners, but important investment in the Cornish fishing community.
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Wild, Fresh & Fair
Cornwall’s leading sustainable fishery, headquartered in the beautiful Cornish fishing town of Hayle Cornwall, providing the freshest Cornish seafood and shellfish, landed daily in Cornwall’s local harbours.
We’re a local business with strong relationships to the local day boats, we’re proud of our produce and its provenance, and we’re always happy to answer your questions and offer helpful advice.
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