2000 oysters stolen on eve of festival

Some of the Loch Ryan oyster catch. Picture Credit: Colin Tennant
Some of the Loch Ryan oyster catch. Picture Credit: Colin Tennant

Organisers of the first oyster festival in Stranraer are determined the theft of 2000 Loch Ryan oysters will not disrupt plans for the event.

Stranraer Oyster Festival will take place from Friday 15th September to Sunday 17th September. Special guests will include Hardeep Singh Kohli and Mr Bloom from CBeebies.

The festival will host the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships on Saturday 16th September, and seafood cookery demonstrations from south of Scotland’s top chefs.

The festival will also include talks and demonstrations by Loch Ryan Oyster Company and oyster ‘pond dipping’ experiences for children.

More than 2000 oysters in seven bags were stolen from the shoreline of Loch Ryan after being collected by the Loch Ryan Oyster Company for Stranraer Oyster Festival.

The theft took place sometime between 18 and 20 August.

A Statement by Stranraer Oyster Festival said: “We are shocked at the theft of a large number of Loch Ryan oysters and devastated at the callous timing, just two weeks before our first Stranraer Oyster Festival.

“Loch Ryan oysters are unique in being Scotland’s only wild, native oysters that are commercially harvested in Scotland. Our festival is designed to celebrate and showcase these exquisite shellfish and we are deeply saddened if publicity for the festival, through drawing attention to the unique nature of these oysters, has in any way contributed to the theft.

“Loch Ryan oysters are unmistakable, and we would urge any restaurant offered native oysters without full documentation to report it to the authorities.

“Our festival team and the people of Stranraer will be giving Loch Ryan Oyster Company our full support. We are determined that the theft of these oysters will in no way diminish the festival and we look forward to welcoming people to our town and to our festival to experience Scotland’s native oysters for themselves.”

Wild native oysters grow more slowly than farmed oysters and the Loch Ryan oyster beds are carefully harvested to maintain and grow oyster numbers.