Loch Creran oysters are a winner yet again
Loch Creran oyster farmer Judith Vajk has won a top prize at an annual Best Scottish Shellfish competition for the second year running.
Mrs Vajk, who is a director of the Caledonian Oyster Company Ltd, was among 100 delegates at the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) annual conference in Oban last week, sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Entrants in this year’s competition came from all over Scotland.
Mrs Vajk took the top title for the best native oysters, which makes it two years in a row.
Mull’s Inverlussa Marine Services also won the prize for the best mussels.
Mrs Vajk, who has been farming Pacific oysters at Loch Creran since 1995, said she was proud to be a winner. Her company can sell between 10,000 and 12,000 oysters a week.
‘We supply the Oban area and send them to Edinburgh. In summer, Ee-Usk can take about 300 a day,’ she said.
Mrs Vajk’s native oysters are not for sale, they are part of a personal project to re-populate Loch Creran.
‘There are lots of ancient native oyster shells around so we know they were there. It’s a hobby. We bought the seeds and now they are spawning,’ she added.
The shellfish competition kicked off the two-day conference opened on Thursday by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.
This year’s theme was how cultivated shellfish have a role in saving the planet. As well as speakers, there was a trade exhibition and a raffle in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Dr Nick Lake, ASSG’s chief executive officer, handed over a cheque for £715 to Oban RNLI chairman Mike Robertson and coxswain Richard Johnson.
Judith Vajk, left, won the Best Native Oysters prize, and Oban coxswain Richard Johnson with Dr Nick Lake and Oban RNLI chairman Mike Robertson with the cheque for £715.