Oyster Harvesting

The Loughs Agency has decided to ban fishing for oysters in a major Lough Foyle oyster bed according to the Belfast Telegraph. This is because of a rare disease affecting oysters. The ban will remain till next September.

It seems that there has been an outbreak of bonamia ostreae, something which has wiped out a lot of the oyster beds in Europe. That makes Lough Foyle the most important oyster habitat in Europe with the oysters much sought after. It seems that the oyster catch boosts the local economy by more than half a million Euros a year.


It seems the disease emanates from a blood parasite which can lie dormant in the oysters but in times of stress for the oyster it attacks them.

The Loughs Agency say that constantly being picked up and dropped is stressful for the oysters and they intend to give them a period of perfect peace and tranquility so that they can fight off the disease and the parasites. It seems the disease is no danger to humans who eat the oysters.


It seems a recent survey of the oyster bed in the Foyle showed that 80% were undersized and 70% had the disease. They can tell that the oysters are distressed as they remain open when they are lifted from the bed when they would normally close up.

The oyster season runs from September till March when they can be harvested from 6am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. They get weekends and evenings off it seems just like the rest of us.