Oysters remain king as growers race to meet consumer demand

Demand for oysters continues to trend upward heading into 2017, with production capacity expanding to satiate consumer demand.

According to a panel of bivalve and oyster experts speaking at the National Fisheries Institute’s 2017 Global Seafood Market Conference in San Francisco, California, “the number of oyster growers [is] increasing just to keep up with demand.”

The rate of oyster consumption particularly at restaurants, remains strong, with the popular shellfish serving to elevate complementary species such as mussels, clams and scallops, noted the panel. While restaurant personnel are still questioned often regarding the safety of eating oysters, the species “remains king,” remarked a foodservice panelist, and demand for shucked items is consistent.

The sector will continue to content with changing bay and ocean conditions, as well as labor concerns and the consistency of wild supply. However, emerging grow-out technologies as well as new hatchery openings and “increased consumption on the live shellstock” are points of positivity for the industry moving through the new year and into 2018.


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