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The Colchester Oyster Fishery

THE COLCHESTER OYSTER FISHERY HAVE BEEN SUPPLYING THE LEADING RESTAURANTS WITH THE FINEST SEAFOOD FOR FIFTY YEARS WITH A FOCUS ON OYSTERS, LOBSTERS AND QUALITY SPECIALIST SEAFOOD.

 

Oysters have been grown here since the Roman times when Colchester was the capital of Britain and we are just the latest in a long line of oyster farmers. The rights to the river were first granted in 1189 by King Richard I in return for supplying men to help build Dover Castle and the Fishery began. The modern day Colchester Oyster Fishery took over the lease to the river in 1964 and began selling oysters to the top restaurants and then in 2014 we built this website and began selling to you.

WHERE IS THE FISHERY?

The Fishery is based on Mersea Island, just south of Colchester, Essex. We are in the East of the Island and overlook the Pyefleet Creek, surrounded by unspoilt salt marshes, where we grow, grade and store our shellfish. Our location is important, as it is these salt marshes and the nutrients in the water that give our oysters their unique flavour.

THE TEAM

We are a team of about 25 at the Fishery, many of our team are the latest in long lines of oystermen, like Ben, who is a third generation oysterman. Our longest serving employee is Tiny with over 45 years experience and there is not much he does not know about oysters. When he started at the Fishery we were in a hut on Pewit Island and you could only get there by boat and orders were sent by carrier pigeon! We have moved on a lot in the last 50 years, but in some ways not at all, we still grade oysters and lobsters by hand and dredge in much the same way.

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability is at the core of what we do. We need to ensure there are enough oysters in the river to spat and generate more oysters and maintain the delicate natural cycle to ensure future oyster stocks. We are investing in the regeneration of our Native Oyster beds and the cultivation of the Native Oyster spat, it's a really exciting time to be an oyster farmer. 

We are one of the largest importers of Canadian lobsters in the country and the Canadian lobster fishery is the most sustainable in the world. They have the same ethos as us, that you have to be careful and selective with your harvest to ensure that you have stock for years to come. We are working with lobstermen in the UK to bring the same levels of sustainability to the UK lobster fishery.