3-Day International Oyster Symposium Comes to Falmouth

178367672 (1)FALMOUTH – The 6th annual International Oyster Symposium kicks off today in Falmouth marking the first time the event will be held in the United States.

The worldwide conference brings together representatives from academia, cuisine, government, business, conservation and culture to discuss oyster aquaculture and regeneration.

“The entire conference is very holistic and interdisciplinary,” said event chair Kahren Dowcett. “So we are really wanting to get the entire oyster story out there.”

Oysters produce sustainable food but they also purify our waters and estuaries.

They also create habitats for other marine life and create natural barriers to protect the coast line from damaging storms.

Around 85 percent of their historic reef systems are gone.

“The oyster, as a keystone species, has been around for 350 million years and so it has a really rich legacy and really important information for us as we face some of the environmental challenges and feeding the worlds hungry on into the future,” Dowcett.

The three-day symposium features industry leaders from 18 countries participating in workshops, discussions, tours of Cape oyster farms, expo and more.

The activities will take place at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth.

Highlights of the symposium include a trade show and education expo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at the hotel along with the Oyster Grand Tasting on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., also at the hotel.

Comedian, interviewer and commentator Paula Poundstone will also be preforming tonight at the Marine Biological Lab’s Lillie Auditorium.

“One in a million oyster eggs survive,” Poundstone said. “I want to have the kind of hope it takes to be an oyster egg.”

Poundstone said her show will cover her usual topics.

“I talk about raising a house full of kids and animals. I talk about trying to pay attention to the news well enough to cast a half way decent vote, which we all know is not an easy trick at all.”

Her favorite part of the night is talking to the audience.

She says everything she knows about oysters was learned after she was booked for the show.

“Now that I know that they are the filter for the ocean, I’m not sure that I want to eat a lot of them any more,” Poundstone said. “For two reasons: One is I want them to be in there doing their filter job and the other is, I don’t know, a filter just doesn’t sound like an entrée to me.”

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By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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