Porlock is a small village on the coast of the Exmoor National Park, in Somerset. Porlock Bay Shellfish was born out of a meeting with local residents and it is considered to be the first community-based sustainable shellfish farming project in the UK.
The £17,000 project began in April 2014 as a trial scheme to see if it is possible to grow shellfish in Porlock Bay near Porlock Weir. The project aims to bring back the village’s traditional trade of shellfish farming (there used to be an oyster industry in Porlock around a century ago) and to create at least three full-time jobs in the area as a shellfish farm social enterprise.
The Fishmongers Hall, Exmoor National Parks Authority, and Porlock Parish Council funded the project. In March 2015, Porlock Bay Shellfish was awarded the top hygiene rating, Grade A, which means that the oysters do not need to be cleaned before eating and can therefore be sent directly to local restaurants.
Porlock Bay Shellfish hopes that the business will be up and running by mid-summer 2015; and they are already thinking about planning an annual oyster festival to attract tourists to the area.