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Sydney Rock Oysters (Saccostrea commercialis) Photographs and Information

Oysters have always been linked with love. When Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell and promptly gave birth to Eros, the word "aphrodisiac" was born.

Why are Oysters the Food of Love? Oysters are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially zinc, which is implicated in the production of testosterone. They are also a source of dopamine, which amplifies the intensity of sensation. Serve Oysters on Valentine's Day!

Sydney Rock Oysters are endemic to Australia, and are found in bays, inlets and sheltered estuaries from Hervey Bay in Queensland to Wingan Inlet in Eastern Victoria.

They have a thick shell with a smooth exterier surface.  There are hinge teeth on the inner margin of their upper shell.  The mantle edges and adductor muscle scar are pale coloured.

Sydney Rock Oysters are capable of tolerating a wide range of salinities.  They are usually found in the intertidal zone to 3 metres below the low water mark.

Sydney Rock Oysters are "broadcast spawners" that is eggs and sperm are released into open water where fertilisation occurs.  Within hours of fertilisation the eggs develop into free swimming planktonic larvae.  The larvae swim in esturine and coastal waters for up to 3 weeks during which time they develop transparent shells and a retractable foot.  The larvae then settle on a clean substrate using the foot to find a suitable site.  The foot is resorbed once the larva is attached.  The shell darkens and the small animal takes on the appearance of an adult oyster.

Growth rates vary with local conditions. Sydney Rock Oysters generally reach 40-60g in 2 - 3 years.  Sydney Rock oysters change sex during life.  They start out as males and later change to females.  About 75% of prime eating oysters are female.

They are filter feeders, straining planktonic algae from the water. They are prey to a variety of fish, including stingrays, mud crabs, whelks and starfish.

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Did you know?
Sydney Rock Oysters change sex during their lifetime. They start out as males and later change to females

Did you know? A group of oysters is called a "bed"

Scientific Name Saccostrea commercialis
Location South QLD to North East Victoria
Season -
Size 40-60 gram
Australian Species Code 00 653001
Taste, Texture -


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Oyster fillet.

Kilojoules 378 (90 calories)
Protein 11.1 g
Cholesterol 27 mg
Sodium 106 mg
Total fat (oil) 1.0 g
Saturated fat 30% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 13% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 57% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 136 mg
Omega-3, DHA 142 mg
Omega-6, AA 30 mg


Cooking Sydney Rock Oysters:

Oysters have a strong, rich and distinctive flavour and a soft, silky texture. They are often served raw, but deep frying, shallow frying and grilling are also popular. Pacific oysters are particularly good in pies.

The key to not overcooking oysters is to ensure that cooking stops as soon as the edges of the meat start to curl.

Raw or au naturel oyster can create precious portions such as: with lemon juice and cracked pepper; topped with tabasco sauce, tomato, garlic and cream; in the famous Bloody Mary tomato juice spiced with vodka; swimming in a sauce of lime, ginger and shallots; or Stuart Prosser's tartare, which incorporates horseradish and creme fraeche.

Grilled oysters can be tantalisingly topped with: the traditional Kilpatrick; fresh herbs and breadcrumbs; or balsamic vinegar and roasted capsicum.

Deep fried oysters in batter can be served with basil, aioli or spicy soy dressings (an appetising additive to warm salads).

Alternatively, try blending oysters with bechamel and serve in bread or pastry cups for hors doeuvres, or include them in soups and bisques.

Bottled oysters can be used in cooked dishes such as soups, terrines and braised dishes.


Oyster Strudel Beef with Oysters and Guinness Oysters Rockefeller Prosciutto-Wrapped Duck
& Oyster Appetizer

How to open (shuck) Oysters:

Opening (Shucking) Oysters:
Scrub the Oysters under running water to clean shells.  Place Oyster, flat side up, on a board and press onto end opposite hinge using a cloth to protect hand.  Insert tip of oyster knife next to hinge, push firmly against hinge and pry the shells apart, sliding the knife against the inside of the top shell to sever the muscle holding the shell together.  Discard top shell, rinse Oyster in bottom shell lightly in a bowl of cold water to remove shell fragments and grit.  With Oyster knife, loosen Oyster from bottom shell and turn it over for good presentation.

How to shuck an Oyster
Sydney Fish Market takes you through how to tell the difference between a Sydney Rock Oyster and a Pacific Oyster, what to look for, how to prepare and store them. Not to mention how to shuck your own!

Store live oysters, clams and mussels in the refrigerator. Keep damp by placing in shallow bowl with a wet paper towel draped over them.  Don't store an oyster on its side. Every so often, it will relax and open up a bit. If it's sitting on its side, it could lose all its liquid which is vital for flavour. 

Keep fresh shucked oysters, scallops and clams in their own container and store in the refrigerator. For best results, surround the container with ice.


Commercial Fishing for Sydney Rock Oysters:

There is no commercial harvesting of wild Sydney Rock Oysters.  All commercial stocks are farmed.


Exporters of Sydney Rock Oysters  |  Importers of Sydney Rock Oysters  |  Processors of Sydney Rock Oysters  |
Wholesale Suppliers of Sydney Rock Oysters  |  Seafood Agents for Sydney Rock Oysters  | 
Aquaculture Farmers of Sydney Rock Oysters


See also:  Oyster,   Flat Oyster,    Pacific Oyster


Fresh sydney rock oysters, australian oysters, half shell oysters

More information about Sydney Rock Oysters

Australian Government - Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (PDF file) - Australian Fisheries Statistics 2010/2011




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