Royal dish

From written sources we know that oysters have been caught in Bohuslän on the Swedish west coast since the end of the 17th centuary. The counciller Anders Kock was given a monopoly to catch oysters and as a return service, he had to supply the royal household with oysters. With time the catches decreased and Kock had trouble keeping his agreement with the royal court. Certain periods, the catches were quite abundant, but cold weather and overfishing decimated the populations.

Varying catches

The Swedish catch 1859 has been calculated to about 40-50 tons. During the 19th centuary, regulations were introduced controlling season and size, but these were heeded by few. Catches decreased steadily until 1933 when no oyster statistics were recorded. In the middle of the fourties, fishing was resumed, with catches varying between 1-116 tons annually. Overfishing and natural variations in the environment have affected oyster populations throughout history, from the roman empire, and from France, Denmark and Norway during the 19th centuary. During thousands of years mankind has tried to compensate for these fluctuations in population. To succeed, we must know more about how the oyster lives, but also how they reproduce.


European oyster on a sandy bottom amongst eel grass.

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Ancient food

European oyster

Giant Japanese oyster

Other specie

Royal dish

Varying catches


Extensive farming

Intensive farming

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Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson