Catch up with Alabama's Wild Seafood

Tide to Table

2012 Alabama oyster landings

265 thousand pounds

2012 Alabama oyster revenue

1,253 thousand dollars

Data from the US Department of Commerce Report "Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2012" Released by NOAA Feb 2014

The Eastern Oyster can be found on subtidal or intertidal reefs and provides important ecological functions. Reefs support over 300 species of marine organism that are part of the food web leading to economically important species. Oysters can filter up to 4 gallons of water an hour and are effect in reducing water density and improve water quality.  Oysters are critical to maintain species diversity.

Oysters reproduce as water temperatures increase. Spawning usually occurs in the spring when the water temp reaches 68 degrees.

life cycle

Adult oysters release eggs and sperm into the water, where the eggs are fertilized.  A female oyster has the potential of producing 25-150 million eggs. After fertilization, between 5-12 hours a trochophore develops. The next stage is the development of veliger larvae. It's during this time the straight hinged D-shape bivalves are formed.  The larvae are capable of feeding on microscopic algae, during this time they swim around eating.   Some 12-20 days after the stage of development the larvae develop "eyespots" and a "foot" and are called pediveligers.  The pediveliger swims to the bottom in search of hard substrate to call home, the pediveliger uses the "foot" to find just the right spot.  Once its found, the larva cements itself to the hard substrate and forms a tiny oyster called Spat. The hard substrate can be another oyster located in an oyster bed, a piling or an old tire.  After attaching the spat settles to a life of filtering water in the same spot day after day, they are sessile, they can't reattach and move to a new home.  It is in this spot the oyster will live out it's life, never more to move again.

Growth rate varies depending on water temperatures.  The Alabama Eastern Oyster can grow to the 3 inch market size in 15-24 months.

grilled, fried, stewed, nude or dressed up like a Rockerfellow...

No matter how you like to eat your oysters, start with the freshest Eastern oysters from Alabama!

Oysters are bivalve (having two shells) mollusks that are related to clams, mussels, and scallops. They are an excellent source of zinc, which your body needs for hundreds of different biochemical processes to occur.

Wild Alabama oysters are also a good source of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-12. A one-cup serving offers over 17 grams of protein, too.  Of course, we haven't known too many people willing to stop with a one-cup serving!

Alabama oysters are also known as eastern oysters.  Oyster connoisseurs will note that, like our tea, our oysters are a little sweeter than that of our northern neighbors.

Did you know.....Alabama is #1 in Oyster Processing!!!

Selecting and serving oysters

Choose fresh oysters that have been harvested and processed according to safety guidelines - look for a tag on the containers or sacks. If you purchased your oysters from a Licensed Alabama Seafood Dealer regulations require a tag on the container or sack of oysters.

Throw away any oysters that have broken shells, and tap any open shells with your finger.  A live oyster should close its shell when you tap it.  If it doesn't close, throw it away.

Fresh oysters should be refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower until you serve them or use them in a recipe. When you cook fresh oysters in the shell, the shells should open up. Discard any oysters that remain closed.

Oysters can be served raw, usually sitting on one shell (called half-shell in most restaurants), smoked, baked, fried, stewed, or as the featured ingredient in many recipes.

Catch up with Alabama's Wild Seafood