Japanese company General Oyster succeeded in achieving the first fully on-land farming oysters.
Why fully grow oysters on land? To remove food poisoning from oysters contaminated with norovirus. Norovirus remains infectious for a long time. When excreted after oyster consumption, it is discharged into rivers not being completely removed at sewage treatment plants, flowing into the sea area and taken back into oysters, creating a cycle. The risk of norovirus in oysters is not only limited to Japan but also affects European countries such as France.
“To eliminate the risk to oysters, it is necessary to completely remove the virus contaminating oysters, develop a purification method that kills the virus, or raise oysters in an environment free of norovirus,” the company said.
General Oyster developed a farming system that uses deep ocean water (200 meters) which is completely free of norovirus. The company established its own techniques for stable mass production of microalgae to grow oysters completely on land. The innovations have led to patents in several countries, including Japan and the United States.
General Oyster has been working since 2012 at its Okinawa Kumejima Research Center and in collaboration with the University of Tokyo to develop this farming system. The company now aims to mass produce oysters in three years that are completely farmed on land and have high value-added. The company plans to build a full-scale facility that makes full use of IoT technology. The farmed oysters will be marketed with the "8th Sea Oyster 2.0" brand name.