Keeping food supplies alive on Helford River
In my last blog I covered the art and geology bit that I learnt about on our day out down the Helford River, on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. There is also a lot of science to be learnt about the river, it’s food sources, how it’s managed and what happens next.
It was an easy paddle back across the Helford Passage and back up Port Navas Creek, with an easy, gentle wind pushing us gently along.
After all the stories of art, Tim our guide from Korukayaking, told us about the history of the oysters in the river and how they had always been peasant food, supplementing a diet heavy with potatoes. However, in the 17th century, oysters became the property of the Duchy of Cornwall, with demands for quality supplies to be delivered each week. What this means, I think, is that the oysters, along with the other delicious produce of the river then actually belonged to the Duchy, giving it a rich revenue.
And the problems haven’t stopped. Much more recently Pacific Oysters were introduced, which are bigger than our native ones, with the benefit that they breed more easily. However, their introduction has affected the eco system with a ‘take over’ and our native oysters are diminishing. It’s not just oysters that are affected but mussels too.
This imbalance in the eco-system of the river is needing to be addressed with some urgency. I am conveying only the very basics here and it’s my own interpretation, so I’ll apologise if it’s not 100% accurate. However, what I do know, from Tim, is that grant money is available to experts with ideas to redress this imbalance.
If this is your area of expertise and you can help, or know someone that can, please can you share this, call them whatever. Look up where to source the grant funding and help this great river and all that it makes, be restored to it’s former balance and systems and let it continue feeding us with oysters and mussels long into our future.
Nothing like a bowl of steaming moules marinere ….. which leads to me another blog about picking our own and cooking them up on the beach, with some pre-prepared shallots and garlic….
Bye for now
Love Janie x
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