Oyster Species

In the UK, we have three species of oyster: the Pacific Oyster, the Native Oyster, and the Kumamoto Oyster...


Pacific Oyster

Scientific name: Crassostea gigas.


The Pacific Oyster is also known as the  'Japanese' Oyster or the 'Miyagi' Oyster.


In the UK, the Pacific Oyster is sometimes referred to as the 'Rock' Oyster. However, the 'Rock' Oyster (scientific name: Saccostrea glomerata) is a different species of oyster, which is native to New South Wales in Australia; and most resembles the very small Kumamoto Oyster.


The Pacific Oyster is native to Japan's Pacific coast, where it has been cultivated for hundreds of years.


In 1965, the Pacific Oyster was introduced to the UK to replace the low stocks of the UK Native Oyster.


The Pacific Oyster is mostly farmed by oyster farmers (known as 'Aquaculture').


The Pacific Oyster is almost always farmed and takes 24 to 36 months to develop to market size, dependant on specific site location and conditions. For example, tides and currents, water salinity and nutrients, weather and seasons.


The Pacific Oyster is elongated in shape, with rough and fluted shells that include a deep cupped bottom shell and a flat top shell. The oyster meat is unique in flavour; often with distinctive notes such as cucumber or melon.


Today, the Pacific Oyster represents over 98% of the world's harvested oysters.


The abundant and sustainable Pacific Oyster is available for sale all year.


At Simply Oysters, we offer the UK's widest selection of Pacific Oysters from waters in the UK, Channel Islands, and France.


See all Pacific Oysters



Native Oyster

Scientific name: Ostrea edulis.


The Native Oyster (also known as the 'European' Oyster or the 'Flat' Oyster) has been fished from UK waters since Roman times.


In the UK, the Native Oyster was over-fished between 1900 and 1965, and combined with other environmental factors, resulted in critically low stocks of the UK Native Oyster. Today, the UK Native Oyster has benefited from responsible and sustainable practices carried out by UK oyster farms and fisheries.


The Native Oyster is almost always wild and takes 36 to 60 months to develop to market size, dependant on specific site location and conditions. For example, tides and currents, water salinity and nutrients, weather and seasons. In the UK, the Native Oyster is graded into four sizes: Grade 4 (smallest), Grade 3, Grade 2, Grade 1 (largest).


The Native Oyster is rounded in shape, with smooth and brittle shells that include a shallow cupped bottom shell and a flat top shell. The oyster meat is unique in flavour with a succession of complex notes; often with distinctive notes such as woody and nutty, or mixed lettuce.


The seasonal Native Oyster is available for sale from 1 September to 30 April (months that contain the letter 'r') each year. By UK law, the Native Oyster cannot be harvested for sale outside of this period, which allows stocks to recover and remain sustainable for the future.


At Simply Oysters, we offer the UK's widest selection of Native Oysters from waters in the UK.


See all Native Oysters 



Kumamoto Oyster

Scientific name: Crassostrea sikamea.


Affectionately called 'Kumos' or 'Kumies', the Kumamoto Oyster is native to Japan's South West coast, where it has been cultivated for hundreds of years.


The Kumamoto Oyster is wild and takes 24 to 36 months to develop to market size, dependent on specific site location and conditions. For example, tides and currents, water salinity and nutrients, weather and seasons.


The Kumamoto Oyster is elongated in shape, with rough and fluted shells that include a deep cupped bottom shell and a flat top shell. The Kumamoto Oyster is very small in size (smaller than the smallest Pacific Oyster), however, the oyster meat is sweet and fruity in flavour.


The lesser known Kumamoto Oyster is available for sale all year. In the UK, only one oyster farm cultivates and harvests the Kumamoto Oyster.


At Simply Oysters, we offer the only Kumamoto Oyster available in the UK.


See all Kumamoto Oysters 



Marine environment

The oyster is a bivalve mollusc. The shell of a bivalve mollusc consists of two shells called valves that meet at the hinge. Other examples of bivalve molluscs include, mussels, clams, cockles, scallops. Scientists estimate there are over 9,200 species of bivalve molluscs. Of these, marine bivalves represent over 8,000 species; and freshwater bivalves represent the remainder.


Oysters live in brackish water such as estuaries, harbours, lakes, lagoons, marshes and other similar waters. Brackish water is where fresh water meets and mixes with salt water. Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater.


The oyster is an effective filter feeder that removes phytoplankton (microscopic plants) and other nutrients from the water. A normal adult sized oyster can filter up to 227 litres (399 pints) of water each day!