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Black Market Gloom Over French Oysters

FRANCE - Normandy oyster producers have revealed thieves have stolen 8 tonnes of oysters worth 25,000 (21,700) in the last three weeks, the Guardian reports.

According to the Telegraph, the oyster-farming community believe organised gangs with insider knowledge are responsible for the thefts. The news agency claims that the canny rustlers strike at low tide when oyster beds can be easily accessed from the beach.

"Once stolen, the oysters are then sold on the black market as French consumers stock up for the festive season", says the report.

The French are the biggest producers of oysters in Europe and fourth in the world behind China, Japan and South Korea, turning out 130,000 tonnes a year and eating almost all of it themselves. The oyster industry generates more than €1bn (£866m) in sales each year, with three quarters of the trade is done at Christmas and New Year.

"You'd have to have a lot of knowhow to pull off oyster raids on this scale," Joseph Costard, head of the Normandy shellfish farmers committee, told the paper.

the Fish Site Editor

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