The 2022 ShuckOff
credit: Colin Hatterlsey

Official Rules

credit: Colin Hatterlsey

Stranraer Oyster Fesival 2024

Official rules for the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships

  1. The oysters used in the competition will be Loch Ryan Native Oysters (Ostrea edulis), grown by the Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Company.
  2. Competitors must arrive 30 minutes before the event starts.
  3. Competitors MUST wear gloves or other protective covering on their hands.
  4. Each competitor will be required to open 12 oysters for the heats, and 30 oysters in the final. He/She will receive a box of oysters on stage and should ensure that it contains 30 oysters prior to the start.
  5. The boxes will be allocated to the competitors at random and each competitor's tray will bear a number.
  6. The oysters must be opened on the board provided and presented on the tray provided; nothing else can be used for presentation purposes.
  7. The competitor shall not mark the tray in any way.
  8. The competitors must face their oysters face upwards and may present them all either on the deep or flat shell.
  9. In opening the oysters, the competitor will only use a knife, a cloth and any board.
  10. The Festival MC will start each heat of the competition and each competitor will start opening on his/her order.
  11. Each competitor must indicate that they are finished, by ringing the hand bell provided. The competitor must not touch the tray after ringing this bell or disqualification may result.
  12. Each competitor will be requested to carry their own tray of oysters to a designated point and they will be responsible for the safety of their tray up to that point.
  13. The judges will examine the trays of oysters with the following points in mind:
    1. Good appearance, well opened, without flaws
    2. Totally served from shell
    3. Mussel intact – not torn, cut, sliced, wounded, and without blood
    4. Orderly and neat appearance
  14. Points are primarily awarded for the speed of opening the oysters. Judges award bonus points for presentation of the tray of opened oysters. A bonus of from 1 to 30 points is awarded by the judges at their discretion for a tray of oysters that are presented in a neat and orderly manner. The test for the judges is how attractive the tray would look for a customer in a hotel or restaurant.
  15. The following penalty points may be imposed:
    1. An Oyster not severed from its shell - 4 points
    2. An Oyster with blood - 30 points
    3. An Oyster with shell or grit on its flesh - 4 points
    4. An Oyster, the flesh of which is cut or sliced - 4 points
    5. An oyster not presented upright - 4 points
    6. For each oyster not opened or presented - 30 points
    7. If an oyster shell is presented empty, or the flesh only is presented, the oyster will be deemed not to have been presented
  16. The winner will be determined by the lowest combined time, bonus and penalties. In the event of a draw, the competitor with the lowest penalty shall be deemed the winner. If they are still equal the competitor with the highest bonus award will be declared the winner. The judges will also award a prize for the best presentation based on the highest bonus awarded.
  17. These rules have been prepared by the Stranraer Oyster Festival and Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Company and the decision of the Judges, in relation to the interpretation of these rules is binding and final.
  18.  Any breaches of the rules will result in disqualification.