Excerpt from Eat Slow Britain by Alastair Sawday & Anna Colquhoun:
… The farming of oysters dates back to at least Roman or Greek times. For millennia people have believed in their health-giving properties: Parisians and Londoners used to buy oysters by the hundred, Cicero ate them to nourish his eloquence and Louis XI swallowed them by prescription. Oysters are now known to be rich in minerals, vitamins and cancer-fighting ceramides.
Oyster farming has slowly increased in Britain, but we have never fully regained our love of the slippery bivalve; we export the majority, along with most native shellfish, and frozen prawns from Asia seem to have grabbed most of the market. Trawled wild tiger prawns have a MCS [Marine Conservation Society] score of 5 [the worst], not least because up to ten kilograms of by-catch is discarded for every kilogram of prawns landed.
Pete is exasperated by this madness. “Supermarket fish counters are generally poor, stocking fish flown in from around the world. In the Poole area they prefer to stock Scottish or Irish oysters when they have some of the best oysters in the country caught here.” …