- Dear All
This oyster - a native European or Flat oyster Ostrea edulis, weighs 1.36 kg, and its dimensions are width 180 mm, length 170 mm and depth 70 mm. It was on Plymouthfish market yesterday in a box of mixed fish bought by merchant, Peter Randall of Mevagissey, and is now in the Mevagissey Aquarium. [Most oysters found around Britain now are the imported and cultivated Crassostrea gigas (Portuguese or Pacific oyster), which is now found wild in southern Britain.]
There was a similar large oyster of over 1 kg found on the shore in Valentia Harbour, Ireland, in March of this year, but such big fellows are few and far between. It is bigger than two found at Salcombe in 1929, but is beaten by one of 1.52 kg from Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal in 1972. There have been reports of large oysters being caught in deep water off Brittany, and in the 1960s and early '70s there were said to be oysters of over 3 kg dredged up from deeper waters of the North Sea.
This oyster is one of the largest found around the British Isles and probably the heaviest ever recorded in the United Kingdom. Ostrea edulis is included in a Species Action Plan under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and naturally occurring native oyster beds are a nationally scarce habitat. At a time when the native oyster is declining it is most heartening to find such a champion of the species.
Oysters alternate sex and a female of eight centimetres can produce up to two million eggs. Hence it is reasonable to suggest that a female of this size would be capable of releasing over 3 million eggs. Female Crassostrea gigas have been shown to have 92 million eggs.
So far this story has been carried by the Western Morning News, Sun and Guardian, I am expecting pieces in the Telegraph and Fishing News. It is also online @ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/8046691.stm;%c2%a0 but I have just found this possibly bigger one http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/6406129.stm
Marine Fish Information Services
94 Dunstone View
Plymouth. PL9 8QW
Telephone: +44(0)1752 405155
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