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Oyster Festival queries what defines world’s biggest

Narooma Oyster Festival organisers and oyster growers want the Guinness Book of Records (GBR) team to review their definition of ‘the world’s biggest oyster’.

‘We were disappointed to discover that despite our Clyde River Pacific Oyster Jack nudging almost two kilos and therefore being heavier than the current world champion, Jack could not be considered for the world record because it is judged solely on length,’ said Oyster Festival spokesperson Cath Peachey.

Four-year-old Jack became something of a media celebrity in the weeks leading up to Narooma Oyster Festival on 5 May and on the day itself.

‘Everyone wanted to touch Jack or have their photo taken with him,’ said Jack’s grower Bernie Connell. ‘All that attention and handling resulted in Jack spawning and losing about 130g.’

Even so, Jack weighed in at the recent Narooma Oyster Festival at 1898g, more than the current champion from Denmark which weighed 1620g in 2013. However on the crucial length measurement Jack was 27cm which was less than the champ’s 35.5cm.

‘We maintain the length of the shell alone is not a true indication of size,’ Ms Peachey said. ‘We’ve written to the Guinness team suggesting that length, width and depth as well as weight should be considered.’

Mr Connell thinks possibly restrict it to weight, but shape and proportion should also be considered.

‘Jack is the perfect example of an oyster, excellent in his looks and well proportioned,’ he said.

Ms Peachey said that given the extraordinary interest in ‘the biggest oyster’ this year, Narooma Oyster Festival will run a competition each year to find Australia’s biggest oyster but it will be based on clearly defined criteria.

‘Hopefully this will also equate to a Guinness World Record,’ she said. ‘We’ll just have to wait to see if the Guinness team will amend the category, but we don’t expect to hear back from them now until early August.’

Mr Connell said meanwhile Jack will keep a low media profile right up to next year’s competition so he will be in prime condition for next year’s competition.

Interestingly, ‘Jack’ may in fact be ‘Jill’ because oysters start out as male but change to female over time.

Above: Clyde River oyster grower Bernie Connell holds Jack aloft, his Pacific Oyster that won Narooma Oyster Festival’s biggest oyster competition, watched by Member for Eden Monaro Dr Mike Kelly. Jack will keep a low profile now until the 2019 competition and another attempt at the world title.

Above: Member for Eden Monaro Dr Mike Kelly, left, listens to Bernie Connell explain how ‘Jack is the perfect example of an oyster’ as well as the heaviest, watched by Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Liz Innes and the curious crowd. Photo Laurelle Pacey

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