My views are my own... Ranger

More shellfish testing following 'devastating' ban... April 01 2020

One of the main problems is the stock used for sampling comes from the lays up Mylor Creek and is given to Port Health who replace each bag at each Remote Monitoring Point for the next samples and so on, the bags are suspended in the top 2m of seawater that is usually the fresh water and usually the dirtiest, samples are deck washed before going into sealed bags in a cool box and sent off the Porton Down who test all the 67 sites in the South West, it takes 7 days to get the results. Sample sites must be 90% compliant with the classification. The Shellfish Harvesting Waters Classification Sampling is eactly that and NOT a Food Standards Rating for end product consumption. 

BBC News "More shellfish testing following 'devastating' ban

  • 3 October 2014

Plans to revamp the testing regime which monitors water quality and the cleanliness of the shellfish in Cornwall have been announced.

One proposal is to temporarily halt shellfish harvesting when heavy rainfall is predicted.

Water testing in the spring forced the closure of the Fal mussel fishery and a high reading for E.coli in July left the oyster fishery under threat.

Some mussel harvesting has restarted and the oyster fleet is working again.

Chris Ranger, an oyster fisherman in Falmouth, said: "To be told in July you can't harvest was devastating.

"I'm a food producer. I would like to know before there's a high risk."

Ahead of the start of the season the oysters are cultivated and reared in the Fal.

The oyster season itself runs from October to March.

A shellfish flesh sample from Mylor, near Falmouth, in July contained levels of E.coli bacteria 300 times more than that permitted by the Food Standards Agency.

As yet the cause remains unexplained.

The Port Health Authority - which is responsible for the testing regime - said at the time it hoped it was a one-off.

The authority said it had now increased tests in risky areas.

It also hopes to use rainfall predictions to temporarily halt production when there is the greatest risk from run-off and sewage overflow.

David Robertson from the authority said: "It will reduce the amount of guesswork.

"As we've only taken samples once a month it's been unknown what the state of the river is at other times."

Fal oysters are said to have a distinctive sweet, fresh and delicate flavour and are popular with chefs in restaurants around the UK."

E.coli causing Fal oyster ban concerns... April 01 2020

Something fishy with this, the scale goes from <18 as the cannot count any fewer to >180,000 as they cannot estimate any greater number, how do 48 of 67 sites from Milford Haven to Weymouth have readings from one lab of !.8 MILLLION??

E.coli causing Fal oyster ban concerns

By Tamsin Melville BBC Cornwall political reporter

  • 8 August 2014

Oyster fishermen in Cornwall say they are worried a fishing ban could be imposed after high pollution readings.

Samples for E.coli in the Fal estuary last week included one which was about 400 times over the legal limit.

Fishermen and officials said they hoped readings next week would show the high count was a one-off. The fishing season begins in October.

Mussel fishing in the area has been banned since April because of the bacteria.

'Hanging around'

Last week three samples in the Fal fishery area revealed one reading, in Mylor Pool, that greatly exceeded what is permitted under Food Standards Agency (FSA) rules.

The FSA states the maximum level permitted for shellfish production is 4,600 parts E.coli per 100g of shellfish flesh.

Fisherman Tim Heard said: "It has to be under 4,600 parts for it to be legal. It was well in excess of 1.8m, I was told."

Mylor Creek and Grimes Bar also breached limits.

Mr Heard said: "We should be getting ready for dredging. We're just hanging around to see what happens and we go from there."

Cornwall Council's port health manager for Falmouth Docks, Gary Cooper, said officials "cannot identify any cause of the high reading".

He said: "There was no rainfall or issues with discharges from the sewerage network."

Mr Cooper said further samples would be taken on Tuesday but "if results such as this continue there is potential for the FSA to consider downgrading parts of the fisheries".

South West Water said all its assets were operating normally when the samples were taken and it was not a result of a specific pollution incident.

The Environment Agency said it was looking into the situation.

Fal oyster row 'threatens future' of industry April 01 2020

Leaving oysters for longer not only improves their value, but also allows more time for them to reproduce naturally, thus improving future stocks, boats wont leave because there is a better fishery, they will leave if the association destroys the fishery just to make it viable for fewer oystermen...

30th January 2014

BBC News Fal oyster row 'threatens future' of industry

A row over the future of the Fal oyster has broken out among fishermen. Some fishermen argue they want to delay catching oysters so they grow larger in order to satisfy lucrative business coming from chefs in London.

The association which protects the trade said that would be a big mistake and could put the industry in jeopardy.

A final decision on catch sizes will be made by Cornwall's Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) which takes over the fishery this summer. The size of an oyster which can be landed from the Fal estuary has not changed since the early 20th Century.

Chris Ranger, an oyster fisherman, said: "Something's got to change or the market will go elsewhere. My customers don't want anything less than 70g." Smaller oysters are put down in lays above the low tide mark, to be fattened up for the next season.

The Port of Truro Oyster Protection Association said many of those oysters are used in the annual Falmouth Oyster Festival.

The association is concerned other areas of the industry would suffer if the demands of the London restaurant trade are agreed to.

It said the move would be a "silly mistake". Tim Vinnicombe, from the association, said: "I've got to speak on behalf of the guys who have to sell to many different markets. "If you see boats going from this fishery because of one silly mistake, it could be the end of it."

MP secures licence fee waiver for oyster fishermen April 01 2020

But this means we had NO FREE MMO Fishing Vessel Registration, which means no grants for safety equipment, no grants for vessel improvements including safety of vessel and no grants for the last and oldest sailing fishing fleet... Ok if grandad or dad lend you a boat until you've made enough money to buy your own!

BBC NEWS "MP secures licence fee waiver for oyster fishermen

  • 12 October 2011

Oyster fishermen in west Cornwall have been told they will not have to obtain new licences to gather oysters.

It was feared new EU regulations would mean the Fal fishermen could have to pay more than £4000 per licence.

Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton took up the issue in Westminster on behalf of the fishermen.

Ms Newton said she would do all she can "to ensure that the last fleet under sail in Europe continues to supply oysters for generations to come".

Ms Newton added: "I am pleased that progress has been made in securing the ongoing viability of the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery.

"The Fishery, and the annual Fal Oyster Festival, is an asset to Cornwall."

Last month a Defra spokesperson said: "The MMO will not charge for these licences and there is no reason why any fishermen currently operating won't be able to carry on fishing as a result of the changes."

Fishermen of the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery have gathered oysters from the Fal Estuary for more than 500 years.

There had been serious concern that the cost of purchasing Marine Fisheries Licences could put oyster fishermen out of business.

Tim Vinnicombe, a fifth generation oysterman, feared the rules could be the "nail in the coffin" for the industry.

Ms Newton said: "I look forward to welcoming Truro Harbour Master Captain Brigden to Westminster later this month, where we will make further representations on this issue."

Claim about oysters needs to be corrected... April 01 2020

My favourite bit of this is 

"Could someone e-mail A Bojo and tell him that we have no Cornish Mafia, that same young fisherman told me that he has Cornish Pixies and Fairies at the bottom of his garden and that Elvis is not dead!"

So we entered the Oyster Festival Harbour Race aboard the Alf Smythers with the crew as Piskie's (Cornish for Pixie's) and me as Elvis 'Arhauh' and I went on stage to collect the trophy ha ha 

See I told you in an earlier post only 3 men supply the festival... How is that fair to the other licensed oyster gatherers? And ask yourself, how do 3 men get 20,000 oysters fished and processed in the first week of the season? 

Two Letters to Falmouth Packet


13th October 2010

"Claim about oysters needs to be corrected 

After reading a letter in last week’s issue of The Falmouth Packet that was critical of the way the oyster festival was run, I felt very strongly that some points needed to be corrected.

Firstly, as a licensed oysterman from a family that has been on the oyster fishery for five generations, I wholly support the oyster festival and the way it promotes our produce.

I spent the whole weekend of last year’s festival schucking out on the oyster stall with eight to ten other people at times, all going flat out. And I can assure your readers that all the oysters were from the Falmouth estuary.

The three oystermen that were present, including myself, had harvested the whole consignment. This year, the stall again is being supplied by the same source and run by oystermen.

This is a great festival and I hope this letter puts a more positive slant on things.

Tim Vinnicombe, Chairman of The Port of Truro Oyster Protection Association

13th October 2010

I want to put the record straight for oyster festival

In response to the E.Mail to the Falmouth Packet from A.Bojko in last weeks Falmouth Packet.

Here are a few facts to allay any confusion and put the books straight.

In the main Oyster festival tent only genuine native (from the Fal. Estuary) oysters have been and will be served.

Professional oystermen like myself, my brother and Les Angel have been supplying the festival for many years.

We have over a hundred years of experience between us. The oysters are especially caught, graded, cleaned and then have a period of 48 hours in special tanks where the water is filtered and treated under ultra-violet light .

They are also tested and have to be passed by the Falmouth Port Health Authority.

They finally reach the public in first class condition.

This young fisherman must realise that three buckets of oysters and a loaf of bread will not feed the 40,000 customers who come to the festival.

Could someone e-mail A Bojo and tell him that we have no Cornish Mafia,that same young fisherman told me that he has Cornish Pixies and Fairies at the bottom of his garden and that Elvis is not dead!

Les Angel and myself in conjunction with the St. Michael’s Hotel will be selling you our own oysters caught in the Fal Estuary,shucked and served by us,(the Professionals).

Marshall Vinnicombe, Penmere Crescent, Falmouth"

Why is festival shutting out a local oyster fisherman? April 01 2020

And so I set up the Falmouth Oyster Festival Fringe Oyster Gathering in October 2009 at The 'Front on Custom House Quay, where the original festivals were held... which lead to the first end of season sea food harvest Oyster Gathering in 2020 at Mylor Yacht Harbour

Letter to Falmouth Packet 6th October 2010

"Why is festival shutting out a local oyster fisherman?

When I say this, I refer to the oyster fishermen. I spoke to one of the remaining oyster fishermen who works on the Fal in an old boat he did up himself. He is young and works in the months allowed, collecting oysters and selling them to fishmongers or to local restaurants at a flat rate. I met him 18 months ago at an event held at Falmouth’s Pavilion and tasted his locally caught oysters (which were divine, I hasten to add).

As he opened one for me to try, I mentioned Falmouth’s Oyster Festival and just as conversation goes, I said: “Well the festival is here soon so you will be able to make a bit of money there?”

I knew he was finding it difficult to make ends meet, as a lot of us do. He was selling first class flat oysters at about eight to 10p each.

I was very surprised when he said he was not allowed to sell his oysters at Falmouth’s Oyster Festival as the ones there came from other places in Cornwall (we hope at least they came from Cornwall).

A sort of Mafia agreement perhaps? How is it possible that a local oyster fisherman can be excluded from selling his produce at the local oyster festival?

I hope this year will be different and I hope people who go there will ask where the oysters they are eating come from, and not accepting “locally caught” as an answer.

How dare they exclude a local fisherman who works under sail in the traditional way from an event which should be the highlight for his season.

A Bojko (via email)"

Call for council to cultivate oyster beds... April 01 2020

It was always the oystermen that looked after the beds, now it's just take take take with some of them...


Falmouth Packet 

31st March 2010

"Call for council to cultivate oyster beds

By David Barnicoat

SOME oyster fishermen in Falmouth area have called for Cornwall Council to maintain or cultivate oyster beds to help stocks.

The fishermen, who work in Mylor Creek and on the River Fal, said the clearing of weeds from beds was needed during summer months when the season was over.

They say weeds on beds prevent juvenile oysters – or spats – growing.

Cornwall Council said that although the county council last carried out work on the beds in 2006, cultivation was down to the fisherman.

Skipper fisherman Frank Vinnicombe, one of three full-time fishermen in the area who works during the winter oyster season, said: “We need a lot more summer cultivation.”


"Council taxpayers in Carrick will be underwriting the cost of the Falmouth Oyster festival by up to £4,650" April 01 2020

That is nice of them, do they know only 3 oystermen supply the private event on private land??

BBC News Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK


Taxpayers to subsidise festival


"Council taxpayers in Carrick will be underwriting the cost of the Falmouth Oyster festival by up to £4,650.

For the next three years Carrick District Council will subsidise the event to the tune of £2,500 as well as losses up to the agreed figure.

The festival celebrates the River Fal's traditional industry.

The financial commitment will be reviewed annually with any profits ploughed back to reduce the subsidy in the next year.

This year's festival will be organised by the National Maritime Museum."