In an attempt to diversify Jersey aquaculture Tony Legg tried, in 2009, a crude experiment to establish whether or not the small quantity of native oysters he had collected in the Green Island area over a number of years would be adequate to produce a small trial quantity.
It worked and in 2011 Jersey Sea Farms had some 40,000 natives almost at market size. As there was no record of how they grow here, what their production density should be, and even what they taste like, it all had to be done by guesswork.
The results have been much better than reported elsewhere. Market size is achieved in under three years whereas in Belon or Cancale it is nearer five, and the taste is superb, a subtle, smooth start with a sharpening after taste as befits the ‘King of Shellfish’ reared in its historically right ‘terroir’.
There are still challenges ahead, such as ensuring that the damaging disease Bonamia, that only affects natives and has lead to their commercial demise in many areas of Europe is truly absent and kept so by strict bio-security adherence, with commercial quantities of seed only coming from equivalent disease free areas, and to develop a new market both at home and abroad for Jersey Native Oysters.