- Certifier :
- Control Union (UK) Limited
- Certified status :
- Certified since :
- 28 Feb 2013
- Certificate expires :
- 01 Feb 2024
The Dutch oyster fisheries are located in the North Sea coastal region of the Eastern Scheldt and Lake Grevelingen. About 30 companies and individuals are active in these fisheries, which coordinate nearly the whole supply of Dutch oysters.
The oysters are caught with an oyster dredge and grown out on cultivation plots, with each plot managed by a licensed fisher.
Pacific oyster was introduced to the Netherlands for cultivation in 1964. The species successfully reproduced, and has become an integral part of the ecosystem, abundant in both fishing areas.
The native oyster stock has suffered from the parasite Bonamia ostrea since the 1980s. As a result, the stock size is limited. Harvesting the oysters early, before they are susceptible to bonamia, serves to preserve the native stock.
In the Eastern Scheldt, native oysters are very rare and so the fishery concentrates on Pacific oysters. Both spat (larvae) and fully grown oysters are caught and then transferred to nearby culture plots.
Pacific oysters may be fished and redistributed several times to provide optimal growth opportunities. There is a total of 1,550 hectares of cultivation plots in the Eastern Scheldt, although fishers also harvest oysters in ‘free grounds’ outside these plots.
Lake Grevelingen has 550 hectares of cultivation plots which are managed to encourage native oyster (a more valuable species), though Pacific oyster may also be taken. Upon relocation, the flat native oysters, being more fragile, are disturbed as little as possible.
Both Eastern Scheldt and Lake Grevelingen are protected Natura 2000 sites. Oyster fishers work closely with environmental organizations to ensure they have no negative impact on vulnerable species and habitats.