Somerset

Porlock Bay oysters harvested for first time in 100 years

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Media captionFirst oysters harvested in 100 years

Thousands of oysters have been harvested in a Somerset village for the first time in almost 100 years.

The oyster beds were laid off the coast of Porlock Bay in 2013 as part of an initiative to boost employment and "improve the image of the area".

Now, the farming of the shellfish has taken off, secured the highest quality rating and are due to be sold locally.

Roger Hall, from the Porlock Futures Community Interest Company, said it had been a "brilliantly successful trial".

Using oysters from Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, trials were set up to establish whether the shellfish could be farmed in the seas around Porlock.

"We've proved the oysters not only grow but have got the best Class A classification for cleanliness you can get," said Mr Hall.

"It's the realisation of what started off as an interesting idea and now we've got 70 trestles with thousands of oysters on them all waiting to be eaten in the restaurants."

Image caption David Salter, from the Community Interest Company, said they "haven't got the fastest growing site in the South West" but are hoping to sell around 30,000 this year

Following a successful trial, the project has been awarded £75,000 from the Power To Change fund and raised more than £65,000 from the local community.

David Salter, from the Community Interest Company, said they "haven't got the fastest growing site in the South West" but are hoping to sell around 30,000 oysters this year.

"Next year, we'll be getting up to the 80,000 and then in four to five years we'll have 500,000," he said.

"It's really growing and in a few years we'll have 500 trestles out here."

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