The art of shucking an oyster (i.e. skillfully opening an oyster with a specially designed oyster knife) was not the only thing being displayed at this year’s Falmouth Oyster Festival. For the 16th year in a role Falmouth celebrated its most traditional industry, alongside a diversity of Cornish food and cookery.
The main act though was the native oyster and the fishermen that for centuries have derived their livelihood from oyster dredging in the Fal Estuary. Not only is the Fal native oyster unique in its taste. It is the dredging methods that distinguish the Falmouth oyster fishery from others in the world.
It is in fact the only oyster fishery in Europe that still uses traditional harvesting methods. Prohibited from using an engine to catch the molluscs, the Falmouth oystermen gather the oysters under sail and by hand.