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Green pledge from oyster organisers

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Green pledge from oyster organisers

STRANRAER’S oyster festival is going greener as it launches its 2023 programme.

The three-day food festival taking taking place from Friday September 15 to Sunday September 17 and will see chefs Michael Caines, Tony Singh, Julie Lin and Felicity Cloaks demonstrating their culinary flair. They’ll join local chefs, artisan traders, musicians and skilled oyster shuckers for the seafood celebration.

As part of their commitment to the environment, festival organisers, the Stranraer Development Trust, have pledged to return the shell of every oyster consumed at the festival back to Loch Ryan, to help grow the native oyster bed, located just a short distance from the festival site.

A spokesperson said: “The beauty and ecological importance of Loch Ryan and its wild, native oyster bed is at the very heart of Stranraer Oyster Festival, and we have always been mindful of our responsibility to manage the festival sustainably. This year we want to go even further. We’ve reviewed every area of festival and site management to see where we can reduce our environmental footprint.

“Collecting back the oyster shells to return them to Loch Ryan has so many benefits. It reduces waste from the festival, it will create valuable shell habitat for young oysters which will help the oyster bed grow, and it will naturally sequester the carbon that’s embodied in the oyster shells.”

Tristan Hugh-Jones, of Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery, added: “We are continually trying to increase the size of the population, so we will fish in a particular area for a season. We’ll take only the largest oysters, about five per cent of the total catch, and we tip the small oysters back into a well marked area of the loch. The smaller oysters are put close to each other to give the best possible chance of fertilising eggs and producing spats.”

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