Historical timeline of oyster fishery in Wales from 7000 BC to 1950 s.
|Historical remnants of oyster consumption|
|7,000 BC||Caldey Island||Oyster part of diet based on Mesolithic archaeological remains||Schulting and Richards, 2002; Schulting et al., 2004|
|75–400 AD||Caerleon, Caerwent, Y Gaer Brecon||Large quantities of oyster shells excavated from Roman fortresses||Wheeler and Pryce, 1926; Matheson, 1929|
|First record of commercial oyster trade in Wales dating back to Tudor period|
|1592||Milford Haven*||Early record of oyster trade in Wales; 20,000 oysters||Lewis, 1927|
|1603–1850||Milford Haven* and Tenby**||Oysters described as ‘sweetest and fattest', 'most delicate of severall sortes' and were ‘highly esteemed’ ‘sold by hundreds and by thousands, not by the bushel as in London’.||Jenkins, 1991; Owen, 1892|
|Early reports of depleting stocks but continued to overfish oyster beds|
|1800–1820||Milford Haven* and Tenby**||Stocks were ‘nearly exhausted’ and condition ‘least estimable’||Fenton, 1810; Royal Commission, 1866; Wright, 1932; Lloyd, 1958; Davidson, 1976|
|Beaumaris||Native oyster fishery signs of exhaustion.|
|1836||Milford Haven* and Swansea Bay||Oyster beds grew and production was substantial||Thorpe, 1896; Reid et al., 2000|
|1850||Caernarfon Bay||Oysters fattened in Strait, sold in ‘great quantities' to Manchester and Liverpool||Royal Commission, 1866|
|1854||Pwllheli||Each boat landing 15-20,000 oysters daily||White, 1894|
|Oyster movements to replenish depleted oyster fisheries|
|1854–1857||Welsh coast||‘Exhaustive dredging’, oysters sent to England and France to restock beds and sustain market demand. Fisheries closed as limited ‘cultch’ and breeding oysters||Bashford, 1891; White, 1894; Jenkins, 1974; Reid et al., 2000|
|1858||Mumbles||Fishery recovered, began using ‘smack’ vessel, could fish further offshore||Wright, 1932; Lloyd, 1954|
|First regulations introduced in attempt to recover oyster populations|
|1864||Tenby||Regulations introduced to control minimum landing size||Royal Commission, 1866; Lloyd, 1958|
|1871||Mumbles||Board of Trade Regulating Order; ground closed for 9 months. Maximum number of boats (>180), fishers (>540) reported landing over 9 million oysters||Anson and Willett, 1884; Royal Commission, 1866; Lloyd, 1954|
|1874||Mumbles||Landings ‘had greatly declined’ by 58% since peak in 1871.||Holdsworth, 1874; Lloyd, 1954|
|First introduction of new oyster species in Wales|
|1876–1902||Conwy||First cultivated American oysters on artificial beds; ‘fishers earned £5-7/8 per week’||Davidson, 1976; Llandudno, Colwyn Bay District Field Society, 1930|
|1894||Menai Strait||American and foreign oysters introduced because of scarcity of natives||White, 1894|
|1894–1896||Wales||Collecting oysters banned in hope to restore spat||White 1894|
|1919–1920||Milford Haven* and Mumbles||Oyster disease causing ‘oyster mortality’, commercial fishing was no longer feasible||Orton, 1923; Cole, 1953; Jenkins, 1991|
|Fisheries experimental station opened to conduct research to support fisheries|
|1919||Conwy||MAFF fisheries station conducting experiments on oyster breeding showing ‘some promise of success'||Laing et al., 2004; MMO, 2021|
|1933||Milford Haven*||Portuguese oyster introduced but were unsuccessful||Cole, 1953|
|1937||Mumbles||Closure of last commercial oyster fishery in Wales.||Laing et al., 2006; MMO, 2021|
|1950's||Menai Strait||MAFF native oyster spat settlement trials unsuccessful||Davidson, 1976|
*Milford Haven describes oyster beds in Llangwm (11), Lawrenny (12), Pennar (13), Castle Pill (14).
**Tenby describing oyster beds at Stackpole (17) and Caldey Island (18). MAFF denotes the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, now known as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Historical records use term ‘American oyster’ to describe Crassostrea virginica and ‘Portuguese oyster’ to describe Magallana angulata.
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