Colchester's Oyster Fisheries open for the season

PUBLISHED: 23 August 2023

The Mayor of Colchester, former Mersea fisherman Cllr John Jowers, to raise a loyal toast

The annual opening of Colchester's Oyster Fisheries will take place on Friday, 1 September, with a ceremony on the waters off Mersea.

The sailing barge The Hydrogen will set sail from Brightlingsea, carrying civic dignitaries including the Mayor of Colchester Cllr John Jowers, Deputy Mayor Cllr Lesley Scott-Boutell, and representatives of the Cinque Port Liberty of Brightlingsea.

The tradition dates back to 1540, and sees the mayor, the town serjeant, and Colchester City Council's chief executive, don full regalia to mark the lifting of the first oysters of the season.

“It's a great honour to be part of this historic ceremony,” said the mayor, a former Mersea fisherman who knows the waters well. “I'm looking forward to raising a toast to His Majesty The King and enjoying some of the delicious Colchester Native Oysters.”

The Proclamation, an ancient tongue-twister, will be read by Chief Executive Pam Donnelly to officially declare the fisheries open for the season. The mayor will then raise the loyal toast to His Majesty The King, which is accompanied by drinking gin and eating gingerbread.

The event will also feature a guest speaker, lunch, and music.

Page last reviewed: 23 August 2023


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