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French Oyster Prices Increase As Supplies Tighten

22 November 2011

FRANCE - October is a month that sees oysters in season and usually in good condition with firm meats following the end of warm summer temperatures, according to Finnian O’Luasa from the Paris Office of Bord Bia – Irish Food Board.

The French are the world’s largest consumers of live oysters with an annual consumption of 2kg per capita. France produced 112,600 tonnes of oysters in 2009 however production for 2010 and 2011 is down significantly due to high juvenile oyster mortalities from 2008 to 2011 which would start being ready to market as of 2010.

The volume of fresh oysters purchased for home consumption in France in 2010 fell by 15 per cent compared to 2009 and by almost five per cent in value.

The reduced volumes available led to an increase in average prices of more than 12 per cent.

The French national observatory managed by Ifremer report in their September 2011 bulletin that mortalities have stabilised in all observed sites since the beginning of August.

There are also hopes that resistant seed selected for the 2011 season are showing promising results.

The search for resistant oyster seed formed part of the recommendations established during the French shellfish summit.

The French consumer will continue to demand high quality oyster’s especially in December when 50 per cent of the annual volume of oysters are sold.

There is however a risk of rising prices affecting consumer demand. France imported 6,000 tonnes of oysters in 2010 which was an increase of almost 25% compared to 2009.

However, French exports remained relatively stable at 9,800 tonnes. This growth in imports is likely to continue in 2011.

TheFishSite News Desk

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