The Wild Atlantic Oyster brand is owned by the four oyster producers in Sligo Bay, one of whom manages the shellfish hatchery, the other three being oyster farmers. Each farmer operates his own licensed site and all three collaborate in the depuration, packing and sales of their oysters. This seed can be genetically traced to the original brood stock of Crassostrea Gigas imported from British Columbia in the early 1970s, when an oyster variety suitable for cultivation in Irish waters was being investigated. This investigation proved that the selected species was ideally suited to Irish conditions.
We have three oyster farmers;
- Charles Kelly farms his oysters on his licensed site at Lissadell, in an inlet known as Drumcliffe Bay. Charlie operates the site from which the Gore-Booth family exported oysters to London in the 1830s.
- Paul Leydon has his licensed site at Lower Rosses, also in the Drumcliffe Bay inlet. Both this site and the Lissadell site benefit from the nutrient-rich supply of fresh water from the Drumcliffe river.
- Noel Carter operates his licensed site in the Sligo Harbour estuary of the Garavogue river, on Cummeen Strand. This inlet has been a rich breeding ground for oysters throughout history, as evidenced by its proximity to Oyster Island, located in the middle of the Sligo Harbour estuary.
All three farmers source their oyster seed exclusively from their own shellfish hatchery, so that the Herpes-free status of their bay is preserved.
Our current generation of farmers have a combined experience of shellfish farming going back over ninety years, and they apply their knowledge and skills daily to nurture their oysters to maturity, producing a superb quality and flavour in a finely shaped shell.