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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
World is not quite Shaun's oyster
Shaun Krijnen with his record breaking oyster
A shellfish farmed in the Menai Straits is to enter the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest in Britain.

The 1.4kg Pacific Oyster is believed to be up to 30-years-old and was found as part of a record-breaking attempt.

It was discovered by oyster farmer Shaun Krijnen of Menai Oysters.

However, it failed to break the world record, which stands at 3.7kg, set by a native flat oyster from Virginia, USA.

Farmed oysters are usually kept for two to three years until they weigh around a 100g before being removed for sale across the world.

They can be bitter, salty, sweet, acid, everything all together
Shaun Krijnen, Menai Oysters

Mr Krijnen, employs four people at Menai Oysters near Brynsiencyn on Anglesey.

The company supplies 100,000 oysters and 125 tons of mussels to the shellfish wholesale trade in Britain every year.

The former Bangor University student was not a big fan of oysters when he set up the company 11 years ago.

"I didn't like them when I started, I felt they were a bit grim," said the marine science graduate. . "But I thought I had best have a crack at them if I wanted to sell them. After a few I discovered that there are a whole plethora of flavours if you chew them rather than just swallow them whole.

"They can be bitter, salty, sweet, acid, everything altogether."

Judges Dr Stephen J Lockwood and Dr Eric Edwards, vice president of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain
Judges examine the oyster entries

Although disappointed at not breaking the world record, he said he might return his British-record holding oyster to the sea for it to grow some more.

"It puts it into perspective just how big the world record holder is though," he said.

The record-breaking attempt on Anglesey was a "bit of fun" said one of the judges, although the shellfish industry is hugely important to north Wales.

"Of the cultivated shellfish, 50% of the mussels available in Europe come from the Menai Strait," said one of the judges, Dr Stephen J Lockwood, a member of the Sea Fish Industry Authority.

"It varies but in a typical season from September to April that market can be worth up to 5m."

North Wales also has another link to oyster farming.

Most farmed oysters in the UK are descended from original brood stock bred at The Fisheries Laboratory in Conwy which closed in 1999, said Dr Lockwood.

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