The Goldhanger Oyster Beds

Oyster fishing has been a Blackwater Estuary activity for over a thousand years and for hundreds of years there has been oyster cultivation using man-made beds. A large number of disused oyster beds are still visible on Osea Island. However, in the early 1980s a temporary end came to this local industry when a disease curtailed production. Oyster shells have always littered the foreshore at Goldhanger and shell are still found in the gardens in Fish Street and Church Street. Up until the 1950s there were two Fish pits close to Goldhanger Creek. As well as large sea fish catches, they were said to used to hold eels, shellfish and oysters waiting for a suitable market. Today oyster cultivation is again a vibrant local industry.

1879 - Oyster & Mussels Act.JPG     1980 - Open an oyster 2.jpg

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extracts from... The World Fishing Magazine, in September 2010 at...

Maldon Oysters has become the first UK shellfish producer to be allowed to use ozone as part of its purification system following the completion of four years of ground breaking research and development. Ozone is a pale blue gas that is made up of three oxygen molecules, produced naturally by electrical discharge from lightening or by the sun's UV rays upon reaching the Earth's stratosphere. ...By adding very small amounts of this natural product to its purification tank system Maldon Oysters found that it was able to not only improve shelf-life and flavour, but it was also able to drastically reduce any virus the shellfish may be carrying.

extracts from... The Maldon Oyster Company website at...

The Maldon Oyster Company was first established in 1960 and was originally run as a cooperative between several local fishermen, under the leadership of Clarrie Devall. During the hard winter of 1963, most oyster beds in Essex were devastated by ice and the company became dormant for a few years, until Mr Devall started growing new stocks of Pacific Oysters in Goldhanger Creek. In the early eighties, Mr Devall took on David Coward-Talbott as a partner and they successfully grew several million Pacific Oysters on the traditional beds in Goldhanger Creek and established some small quantities of native flat oysters in the main Blackwater River.

The Maldon Oyster Company now has a large area of the River Blackwater under their management and has re-established a native oyster fishery as well as being one of the largest producers of Pacific Oysters in the UK. Our new modern purification and packing facility for bivalves, with a live holding system for crustaceans, has been built at Cock Clarks near Maldon. With this system we can hold oysters, mussels or even cockles in a temperature controlled environment to achieve the optimum purification for a minimum of 48 hours in summer and winter.

One of our primary aims is to utilise this Essex estuary to its best advantage without harming the delicate eco-system and its salt marshes. For it is an area swathed in natural beauty, supports a wide variety of flora and fauna and plays an important role providing wintering grounds for many migratory birds. The area is now enshrined as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is also protected and registered under the European Union Shellfish Waters Directive (79/923), whereby it has the distinction of being one of only a very few shell fish growing waters in the UK.

The oyster beds at low tide to the east of Goldhanger Creek in 2014


recent on-line videos that give a tour of the oyster beds...



HARVEST - Maldon Oysters





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