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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Edible Oysters

General Information

Members belonging to the families Ostreidae are called oysters in common usage. Oyster is one of the best known and most widely cultivated marine animals. As early as the first century B.C., the Romans practised simple method of oyster culture by collecting oyster seed and growing them for food. The important oyster producing countries are Japan, Republic of Korea, France and China, and together they accounted for 78.7% of the oyster production by aquaculture in 1990. 

Edible Oyster Farming

Although edible oysters are considered as prized delicacies in the west and other advanced countries, they still remain more or less alien to the Indian palates. Despite the wide distribution of this mollusc species, there is very little demand in the domestic market except in Bombay. Oysters collected from the wild satisfy the local demand in Bombay. The present fishery of edible oysters is highly localized and it caters mainly to the western style hotels. The oyster capture fishery from wild stocks is under-exploited and, there are no commercial oyster culture ventures to supply domestic and export markets.

In India, to separate the oyster from the pearl oyster, the former is prefaced with the word ‘edible’. There is vast potential for the develop­ment of oyster culture in the tropics.  In recent times, as a result of increasing awareness coupled with the growing demand for animal protein in the context of malnutrition, several tropical countries such as Brazil, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Sierra Leone have embarked   upon   programmes to develop oyster culture on scientific lines.

In India, James Hornell made pioneering attempts in 1910 to develop oyster culture in the erstwhile Madras State. Since early 70's Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has taken up the R & D programmes on all aspects of oyster culture and as a result, a complete package of the technology is now available in the country.

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