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Supply Difficulties In The UK Oyster Market

Oysters Economics +4 more

UK - The supply situation for oysters in the UK market will remain difficult for at least the rest of the year, according to the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers.

Depleted production in France has limited the availability of juveniles for UK growers, as French farmers restock their farms from UK hatcheries.

A disease epidemic has struck juveniles in the oyster beds of France for the past few years creating major shortages for the French market. The disease has not been reported in UK oyster beds.

However, the situation means that UK oyster growers are struggling to meet the demand they are currently experiencing for the shellfish. The long growth cycle and limited supplies of juvenile oysters for on-growing, due in part to sensible restrictions on movements to prevent the spread of the disease, means it is not possible for growers to quickly increase supplies.

Walter Speirs, chairman of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, said: “We are experiencing significant demand for oysters at the moment, which is frustrating, given the limited supplies of juveniles for on-growing. It is important that UK retailers and wholesalers are made aware of the current supply difficulties and that farmers are doing everything in their power to address the situation.

“We are very sorry about the difficulties that the French industry is facing and hope the situation there is resolved as soon as possible.”

Dr Tom Pickerell, director of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain said: “Of course our sympathies are extended to our French colleagues but consumers still want oysters; the rule of supply and demand is such that prices will inevitably rise. We ask that the supply chain work with growers and trade associations to ensure the situation is managed appropriately.”