Oysters may seem to grow easily; in actual fact the survival rate of oyster larvae during spawning is less than 0.1% (NSW Government, 2013).
14Oysters that survive spawning are called spat, the growing time until they reach maturity ranges depending on species. The Sydney Rock takes approximately three to four years. The pacific oyster can grow to maturity in as little as twelve to eighteen months, this is seen not just in Australia but worldwide (NSW Government, 2013). Figure 3: Oysters packaged for sale in Australia. The majority of oysters sold to processors in Australia are packed in 40 litre bags, as displayed in the picture below. Source:Ralston collection 2015 France Over the years of 2012 and 2013, France produced 80 thousand tonne of oysters, however, over four years the production declined by 40 thousand tonne, due to the ostreid herpes virus 1 (OsHV-1) affecting the oysters (Oden et al, 2011). Due to the over-gathering of the wild oysters in France, the species began to dissipate, so Napoleon the Third introduced the first farms in 1849 to allow the species to grow without the over-harvesting risk (Driver, 2013). The French are the leaders in serving oysters correctly, they ensure all oysters are sold live to consumers and are freshly shucked before consumption (Driver, 2013)
15McCabe (2005) states that France has been consuming oysters since Roman times.The oyster industry in France provides approximately ten thousand jobs over the 3,750 oyster companies. The Christmas and New Year period in France is the busiest time of year, where fifty percent of the yearly production is sold over this period (Mr B.Raimbaud, Pers. Comm., October 2014). Figure 4:Live oysters displayed in boxes, along with history about the oyster in France to appeal to consumers. Source: Ralston collection 2015 Ireland The pacific oyster production in Ireland in 2012 is on a much smaller scale than France, coming in at 7,313 tonne. Of this amount, 86% of the oysters are sold in France. Ireland has two species of oysters, the Pacific Oyster (Gigas Oyster) and the Native oyster (Ostrea edulis)(Tully & Clarke, 2012) Every year in September, the city of Galway is bustling with all-things oysters, including street parades and the world oyster shucking championship. The total cost for this Oyster festival weekend was 225 euro per person (in 2014).
16Ireland has their own oyster shucking champion, Michael Moran. The five-time champion has oysters in his blood. He is a seventh generation farmer and has the family business dating back over two hundred and fifty years (Thomas, 2014). The Pacific Oyster (Gigas oyster) is produced and sold from over 130 companies in Ireland, of these companies; almost 70% of the pacific oyster production is directly from the top 15 companies alone, which shows the scale of production from these companies. Figure 5: Oysters packaged in plastic boxes along with seaweed and ice in Ireland Source: Ralston collection 2015 USA In 2010, the landing totalled 28.1 million pounds (12.745 million kilograms) of oyster meat (Lutz et al, 2012).