Get Shucked cultivates the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, which is native to the Pacific coast of Asia. Pacific oysters were first introduced to Tasmania in the 1940’s, and while they’re not native to Tasmania, they’re often sold as Tasmanian oysters. But don’t be duped! The true native Tasmanian oyster is called the Angasi. While you can eat Angasi oysters, they aren’t as delicious as their Pacific cousins, which is why you’ll rarely find them either farmed or on the menu.
Oysters have bi-valved shells to protect their soft bodies. The two shells are joined by a hinge and an adductor muscle holds the shells together. The oyster will then use this muscle to clam up tight as soon as it is removed from the water, either when the tide is low or when it’s harvested. The stronger the adductor muscle, the longer the oyster will survive out of the water.
Oysters are filter feeders. They filter plankton using their gills, often filtering up to 30 litres of water per day.
Most, if not all oysters begin as male and change to female later in their life. When the water temperature is right (20°c +), when there’s a full moon, and when there’s an outgoing tide, adult oysters spawn. They shoot millions of eggs and sperm into the water—so many that the water looks like milk. And then… well, you know the rest!
The baby oysters drift in the currents for 3 weeks until they become too heavy to float, usually when they’re about 7mm long. They then find something hard to attach themselves to and knuckle down. This is what we call spat. It will take them between 18 months and 4 years to grow to the size you’d be familiar with—the size fit for your table.
Our oysters are usually harvested at about 2-3 years of age. But if an oyster is left to it’s own devices it can live for up to 30 years. We have the shell of a 15 year old oyster on our counter. Make sure you check it out when you drop in.