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Case Studies > Loch Ryan Oyster Company

Loch Ryan Estate


Case Study Loch Ryan Oyster Company Loch Ryan Estate www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study Loch Ryan Oyster Company Tucked away, protected by the waters of Loch Ryan, one of Scotland’s last wild native oyster beds can be found. Monitored and fished sustainably by the Loch Ryan Oyster Company, these native oysters have thrived.

The beautiful Loch Ryan is home to Scotland’s oldest and finest Native Oysters, with the oyster beds dating as far back as 1701 after they were granted to the Wallace family, and where they continue to remain in the family ever since. Ben and Malcom Wallace sought to ensure the future sustainability of the native oyster, and have worked hard to ensure their success, working with Tristan and David Hugh-Jones, who have successfully been breeding native oysters since 1969.

These wonderful creatures could once be found in abundance across Scotland, with the Firth of Forth once home to the most native oysters in Scotland. However, by the 1950s they were almost extinct with the numbers hugely declining in Scotland over the last few centuries due to over-harvesting and pollution. Loch Ryan now has the largest oyster bed in Scotland and has been successful in ensuring the oysters thrive and continue to have a place in our landscape.

Under the threat of extinction, these oysters are on OSPAR’s List of Threatened and/or Declining Species and Habitats, which protect and preserve the marine environment. Careful management and monitoring is required, and Loch Ryan are leading the way with a successful programme in place to preserve the oysters.

Oysters are incredibly important to our ecosystem, and so at Loch Ryan the only oysters taken are fully grown and at certain times of the year so that the younger ones have time to grow and reproduce to keep numbers growing. In the cold waters of Scotland this can take time, as the cold water slows the growth, however, Loch Ryan have been incredibly successful through patience, good management and hard-work, keeping the population of native oysters high.

In the last year, to celebrate the success of Loch Ryan’s oysters and the local community, in 2017 the Stranaer Oyster Festival was introduced. Attracting locals, and tourists a like, it has so far been a success. The festival is an ode to the beauty and history of the South West of Scotland, and the success of preserving the environment. Filled to the brim with live music, competitions, workshops, market traders, food stalls and of course oysters.
Scottish Land & Estates
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