Blackwater native oyster
Last Updated: 28th June 2011
Number of fisheries: 1
Subscribe to RSS - add this to your reader to receive an update when new information on this fishery is added.
Native oyster (European flat oyster) (Ostrea edulis)
MSC assessment status
The certification body, Moody Marine Ltd., has proposed two peer reviewers for the review of the Draft Blackwater native oyster fishery Assessment Report.
If you wish to provide feedback on the proposed peer reviewers, please contact Jason Combes no later than 5pm GMT, 8th July 2011.
Please refer to the assessment downloads section for further information.
The fishery occurs within the Blackwater River, Essex, in the Greater Thames Estuary, United Kingdom.
Dredge and hand collection
The Blackwater native oyster fishery operates under a variety of UK and EC regulations, including the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967, Local Sea Fisheries Committees Bye-laws, and The Registration of Fish Farming and Shellfish Farming Businesses Order 1985. Additionally, the fishery is subject to a number of hygiene regulations, including EC Directive 95/70/EC to prevent the spread of diseases implemented through the Fish Health Regulations 1997 (SI 1997 No. 1881) and the Shellfish Hygiene Directive (EC Directive 91/492/EEC) implemented through Food Safety (Fishery Products and Live Shellfish) Hygiene Regulations 1998. A closed season is also in effect from 14th May to 4th August.
The Tollesbury and Mersea Native Oyster Company has a Several Order lease from the Crown Estate, granted in 1999 for a period of 20 years. The Blackwater Creeks, operated by members of the Blackwater Oystermen’s Association, are privately owned or leased. Outside these areas, control occurs under the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Committee, operating bye-laws that regulate the minimum ring size (7cm) and restrict the size of dredge to 4 metres in any public fishery within the district. The upper Blackwater is under the jurisdiction of Maldon District Council, and the lower Blackwater by the Crown Estate, both of which lease grounds.
Annual landings are recorded and submitted to Cefas and the Marine and Fisheries Agency. Daily fishing effort and landings are also recorded.
The current market is predominantly for London restaurants and the oysters may also be exported to Europe and Asia.
The assessment process is scheduled for completion in or around January 2012. Please see the download section for a detailed assessment timeline.
The target eligibility date for this fishery is the 1st of November 2009.
The MSC ecolabel can only be applied to product from certified fisheries. The MSC program does allow, in certain circumstances and within strict traceability requirements, the MSC ecolabel to be applied following certification to product caught before the actual date of certification. The target eligibility date therefore represents the date from which products may become eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel, however they cannot be sold until and if the fishery is certified. The actual eligibility date will be determined if the fishery is certified to the MSC standard.
To find out more about when fish from this fishery may be sold with the MSC ecolabel, please follow this link (http://www.msc.org/get-certified/supply-chain/eligibility-dates).
Tonnage of the fishery
The tonnage (2008) for the Blackwater native oyster fishery is 60 MT.