France's oyster producers sound the alarm bell
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France is Europe's largest producer and consumer of oysters and most of the 130,000 tonnes produced annually will be savoured around Christmas and New Year. But since spring 2008 a mystery virus has been killing off cupped baby oysters. As they take up to three years to reach maturity, the full effect is now being felt. France's 11,000 oyster growers are warning that production could be halved early next year. So far the indigenous flat oyster has been spared the virus: a chance for producers of the flat Belonoyster from Brittany to champion the merits of this natural mollusc.