Loch Cr­eran oys­ters are a win­ner yet again

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.

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