Jersey Rock Oysters
The Jersey Oyster Company has been producing Pacific Oysters in Jersey for over forty years it is now run by Chris Le Masurier, a third generation oyster farmer. The business is based in the south east of the Island, on the family farm where Chris’s grandfather commenced an aquaculture venture back in the early 1970’s. The company maintains a 36 hectare beach concession for the production of oysters and mussels a short distance from the farm. The company has grown steadily in recent years and is the largest oyster producer in the British Isles.
The company grows oysters from ‘seed’ obtained from on-shore hatcheries. When the seed oysters are about three months old, roughly 6mm in size, they are placed into mesh bags and strapped onto metal trestles, which are laid in the intertidal area on the beach. The trestle method of cultivation ensures the oysters are suspended above the sand during the growth period, maintaining the best possible quality. The location of the trestles on the beach is just above the low water mark on a spring tide, where the oysters will spend about four hours out of the water on each tide cycle. During this period the bags are turned and shaken, by an experienced team of over 20 workers, to ensure even development of the shells. Surrounded by the warm, nutrient rich waters of the Gulf Stream the oysters grow quickly, and will be ready for consumption two years after the seed has been placed onto the beach. During this period they will be taken onshore at least three times for grading and will be placed in new bags, then returned to the beach to continue growing.
Following final grading, mature oysters are placed in conditioning areas high on the beach where they spend more time each day out of the water. They ‘learn’ to remain closed for longer periods, achieving maximum meat quality and durability.