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Oosterchelde Lobster (Netherlands)

Eastern Scheldt Lobster


The Eastern Scheldt, a deep bay of the North Sea along the Zeeland coast of the Netherlands, was once an estuary. At that time, its habitat was shaped by a gradient of salinity: At the seaside there was seawater while inland fresh water flowed in from the River Scheldt.


Over the past two centuries, dams were constructed to block the influx of fresh water from the river. The estuary became a bay, and new populations of oysters and European lobsters (Homarus gammarus) moved in, joining the local mussel and oyster population. The lobsters once flourished in the bay's ideal habitat, but by the turn of the century, overfishing had nearly driven them to extinction. In the 1960s, a severely cold winter killed all but the hardiest specimens. Today, the Eastern Scheldt bay is closed off by numerous dams and dikes built around its perimeter with a permeable dam on the North Sea side. The lobsters within the bay have evolved into a genetically unique type that thrives today.


Homarus gammarus lives hidden among the rocks and stones of the dams and dikes along the Eastern Scheldt and adjacent salt waters of Lake Veere and Lake Grevelingen, from the low-water line down to depths of 50 meters below sea level. The lobsters are blue-black and can grow up to 40 centimeters long. When cooked, they turn into a deep red color.


Lobsters need six years or more to reach maturity, and while many slow growing fish species have become rare due to overfishing, this eventuality is staved off for Eastern Scheldt lobsters by the short fishing season (April 1 - July 15) and small-scale and strictly regulated fishing.


Fishers use baited conical nets and pots to catch the lobsters and carefully place small specimens and females with eggs back into the water to provide the basis of lobster fishing for years to come. Male lobsters longer than 24 cm (with an actual carapace length of at least 85 mm) are taken on board in seawater tanks and sold fresh.

 


The Presidium

 

The Eastern Scheldt European Lobster Presidium recognizes a sustainable low-impact fishing system and a uniquely well-organized and responsible group of small artisan fishers.
The Eastern Scheldt European Lobster Foundation has worked together with fishers and volunteers over the past years to promote this system in their local community. Every year, they celebrate the opening of the lobster season in the town of Zierikzee with a festival organized by the foundation for promotion of the lobster.

 

Production area
Eastern Scheldt, Zeeland


Presidium supported by
Provincie Zeeland

 

Producers:

Jan Th. van Westenbrugge
Slabberswerf 33
4301 GN Zierikzee
Tel +31 (0)6-53925165

Sam M. Uil
Meeldijk 34
4328 NG Burgh-Haamstede
Tel +31 (0)111-653817

Jan M. Schot
Hoofdpoortstraat 21
4301 AR Zierikzee
Tel +31 (0)111-413134

Jan Zoeteweij
Papaverlaan 2
4401 HC Yerseke
Tel +31 (0)113-573659

Jan J. van Stee
Industrieweg 17a
4401 LA Yerseke
Tel +31 (0)113-573074

Firma Bout
De heer Jan Bout
Werkhaven 2
4311 NK Bruinisse
Tel +31 (0)111-483121
Mob. +31 (0)6-53230744

 

Presidium coordinator
Balth Roessingh
Foundation for Promotion of the Eastern Scheldt European Lobsters
Westhavendijk 76
4475 AE Wilhelminadorp
Phone: +31 (0)113-302787 Mob.: +31 (0)653353843
info@jcom.nl
www.oosterscheldekreeft.nl

 


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In this section, we'll be celebrating all the men and women in our networks: fishermen and fisherwomen, fish farmers, cooks, consumers, journalists, educators, volunteers, convivium members and many more, who are all taking big or small steps towards producing and consuming fish responsibly.

To tell us your story, write to: slowfish@slowfood.com

 

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