1 OCTOBER 1988, Page 42

Oyster roister

Sir: Mr W. G. M. Angliss (Letters, 17 September) says he 'left the trade' ten years ago, which perhaps explains why he is out of date on the current production and sales figures for Gigas oysters in the UK.

The picture is by no means the gloomy one Mr Angliss describes. At the risk of blowing our own trumpet, may I, as a producer of Gigas oysters in Upper Loch Fyne, give your readers the good news, perhaps rashly assuming that they are that interested.

a) Gigas oysters flourish on the West Coast of Scotland. There is also exciting potential for native Edulis in waters free of shellfish disease (particularly Bona- mia). There are a number of oyster farmers.

b) Our own sales now approach one mil- lion Gigas per year. We could produce some six million on our stretch of foreshore alone.

c) We have some 200 odd customers among UK hotels and restaurants and already export to Hong Kong, Singa- pore and Germany.

d) The coastline of Argyll is longer than the entire coastline of France. Though in Britain we certainly have some way to go before we swallow as many oysters as the French — currently a mere six million per annum against their 1,200 million — there is vast scope for large increases in production, particularly as UK consumption is now increasing by 30 per cent per year.

Thus we need not weep with the walrus for the Gigas oyster. A large, reasonably


priced supply 'is coming yet for a' that'. On a minor point of detail, the name Gigas is correctly spelt with one 's' not two, as, say, in Angliss.

John Noble

Chairman, Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd, Clachan Farm, Ardkinglas, Argyll