Native oysters are highly prized but across their range they are becoming more and more rare. The stocks of native oyster in Falmouth and the Helford estuary are healthy and in Falmouth the Truro River Oyster fishery (whch produces Fal Oysters) is uniquely managed through a bylaw that has effectively frozen the fishery in time by banning the use of motors so that oyster are still collected using traditional sailing and rowing vessels. This makes Fal Oysters highly sustainable as well as a world famous delicacy.
This low impact artisanal fishery is a great example of a the preservation of shellfish stocks through a simple ruling that has also preserved a traditional way of life and created a niche fishery product that has high marketing value. Fal oysters can only be caught under sail and oar.
The fishery is managed by Cornwall IFCA. Landings of native oysters decreased to a very low level in the winter of 2018 /19 but this was reportedly due to traditional continental markets not wanting the oysters. There is real need to improve marketing of the oysters and to create a domestic market for them
Updated December 2020
Truro river and Fal Estuary
Sustainably harvested using lightweight dredges that are towed by traditional sail boats and rowing boats. The unique management of this fishery has resulted in a sustainable harvesting regime that has kept stocks healthy for 150 years.Learn more
Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.
1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.
We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.
Native oysters from the Truro river (Fal) oyster fishery are caught using low impact and heavily restricted methods. Lightweight dredges (without teeth) are pulled over the oyster beds and are hauled by hand. They are also farmed on oyster beds or 'lays'. The oyster beds have been fished in this way for centuries and the impact on the seabed is minimal. Oystermen say that dredging actually helps the oysters to grow by reducing sedimentation and removing excessive seaweeds and predators such as spiny starfish.
Live oysters are mainly served raw. All you need is a knife, a bottle of good wine, and a little lemon or tobasco and away you go!
A healthy, delicious and colourful snack that is low on carbs but high on flavour. Utilising light and versatile rice paper, this paleo friendly recipe uses oysters in an exciting new way, particularly for those who don’t always want to eat them raw. This recipe is brought to you by Katy Davidson the ‘Oyster lady’ and owner of Amity seafood, Newquay.
An indulgent and filling New Orleans style roll on a sweet brioche with lashings of home made tartar sauce, rocket and three crisp and juicy tempura fried oysters. Contrasting flavours and textures make for a moreish comfort food option. This recipe by Katy Davidson the ‘Oyster lady’ and owner of Amity seafood, Newquay.
This simple dish is delicous and easy to prepair. And is best using fresh cornish squid!