January 15, 2022 Yaquina Bay Oysters
Oysters! We drove around the bay to the Oregon Oyster Farms and picked up a dozen oysters in the shell. While Robert shucked them with his new oyster shucking knife, I set up all the condiments and crackers for a feast on the front deck!The history of oysters in Yaquina Bay is actually very sad. Of the oyster beds that had fed the Native Tribes here for millennia there are virtually no native oysters left in the bay, wiped out by intensive commercial harvesting from 1863 to 1900 (only 36 years!). The area from the Alsea river (11 miles south of us) to Cape Foulweather (16 miles north of us) including Yaquina Bay, was actually removed from the Grand Ronde Reservation in 1866 to accommodate settlement and commercial exploitation of natural resources. Pacific oysters from Japan were imported in 1918, but couldn’t reproduce here until 1968 when researchers at the Oregon State University Marine Science Center in Newport were able to hatch Pacific oysters locally.