Background image of two tall trays piled with ice and oysters


What happened to Oregon’s oysters?

Lyf Gildersleeve is the owner of Flying Fish Cmpany, a 2nd generation fishmonger, environmental activist, and active member of the Marine Fish Conservation policy council. On February 6th, he will be moderating a special panel discussion hosted at Ecotrust during Shuck Portland.

by Lyf Gildersleeve

In the early 1900s, the Oregon coast boasted vast wild oyster populations. A major resource for the state, the once abundant populations of wild oysters became victim to over-harvesting. Recently, few efforts to rebuild the state’s native oyster population have begun to take hold, but changing ocean conditions are mounting additional challenges on top of historic pressures.

Coming up in February, conscious eaters and ocean activists alike will have an opportunity to explore the delicious array of local shellfish and roll up their sleeves to support oyster restoration on the Oregon coast. Starting February 2nd, Shuck Portland is hosting a week-long culinary festival and fundraiser for native oyster restoration projects. Events will include parties, panels, classes, and citywide dining experiences where attendees will have ample opportunity to dialogue directly with their salty oyster farmers. Together, consumers and producers will shuck and slurp their way to combating the challenging environmental conditions faced by oysters, and their farmers, including ocean acidification, habitat degradation, and more. And stay tuned: Volunteer projects on the Oregon coast will commence March 24th.

Included in the array of events will be an evening of incredible panels hosted at Ecotrust on Tuesday, February 6th. Scientists, oyster farmers, environmental activists, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, and chefs will converge to discuss the changing ocean conditions, and what we can do to help. Guests for the panel discussion will include OSU doctorate professor, Siletz Indian shellfish biologist, watershed council leadership, wetlands conservancy director, lifetime conservation activists, and policy experts.

The evening will be accompanied by amazing food catered by Tournant, along with spirits, wine, and beer to wash down the freshly shucked oysters provided by Hama Hama Oyster Company and Oregon Oyster Co. Tickets are available on the Shuck Portland website.