Oyster farm offshore from Notojima Island, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
On the ropes. The ancient practice of oyster farming
It may look like we've led you into a squishy green minefield, but don't worry, these clustered oysters only explode with flavour. This is just one method of oyster mariculture, or farming in open seawater. Oysters may be grown on beds, rods, racks or ropes, but the basic process is simple: Growing surfaces are 'seeded' with whole or ground oyster shells before oyster larvae are introduced. The shells attract the larvae, which attach themselves and soon grow into a new layer of mature oysters. Humans have been doing this since at least the days of Ancient Rome but wild-picked oysters have been an important food source to many cultures since prehistoric times.