Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is it legal to eat wild oysters?

while i was walking the dogs yesterday i came across some wild oysters just attached to rocks on the beach. i love oysters and rarely can afford to eat them, so i smashed them off the rocks and ate them right there!

it was only when i got home i started to think about the rarity of wild stocks and feel a bit guilty, and only after that i thought about the legality of it? we are not even allowed to pick wild flowers in the UK, does this apply to oysters (or mussels actually, cos i often help myself to those if i find adult ones.

Is it legal to eat wild oysters?
Oysters are common in the UK, and not protected in general. Local regulations apply to property rights and potential health hazards.

If you collected the oysters in a public fishing area, then you are free to collect shellfish as well, barring any special local regulations. Collecting shellfish on private or government property requires permission.

Local regulations on shellfish regarding potential health hazards from toxic bacteria or algae vary from public health warnings, to limits on quantities consumed, to outright bans, and while I question the wisdom of sucking oysters off of rocks, I'm sure it was fun and quite a treat. If you feel ill in the next few days, go to a hospital.

Laws regarding wild flowers are a completely different subject, and the reasons those laws are in place have nothing to do with fishing.
Reply:Different areas have different rules. You can check with your local natural resource agency. You should also remember that being legal is not the same as advisable. Oysters and other bottom feeders can collect toxins from pollution, so I wouldn't eat oysters from an area near a sewage treatment plant. I have, however, eaten oysters, mussels, and clams that I collected in areas of the eastern U.S.

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