Rules for international
Oyster Opening Competition

A sub-committee of the judges will select the best oysters of Ostrea Edulis, which shall be not less than 70 millimetres in diameter.

The opening tables will be approximately 90 centimetres from the ground and the competitors will have access to at least 140 centimetres table surface.

Each competitor will receive a sealed box of oysters on stage. He / She will select 30 of the 32 oysters prior to the start

The boxes will be allocated to the competitors by random.

Each competitor will be required to open 30 oysters.

The oysters must be presented on the tray provided, nothing else can be used for presentation purposes.

The competitors must present all their oysters either on the deep or flat shell.

In opening the oysters, the competitor will only use a knife, a cloth and any board supplied by the Committee. The competitor cannot use any support, holder or any other implement whatsoever - the Judges must also approve the knives.

Competitors must be aged 18 or over.

Competitors must wear the aprons provided.

Competitors may wear gloves or any protective covering on their hands.

The Competition organizer will start each heat of the competition. Each competitor will start opening oysters on his order.

Each competitor must indicate that they are finished, by ringing the hand bell provided.

The competitor must not touch the tray after ringing this bell or disqualification may result.

Each competitor may be requested to carry their own tray of oysters to a designated point, and they will be responsible for the safety of their tray up to that point.


Judges will examine the trays of oysters with the following points in mind:

  • Good appearance

  • Well opened, without flaws

  • Totally severed from shell

  • Mussel intact - not torn, cut, sliced, wounded, and without blood

  • Orderly and neat appearance

Points are awarded primarily for the speed of opening 30 oysters. Judges award bonus points for presentation of the tray of opened oysters. A bonus up to 30 points is awarded by the Judges at their discretion for a tray of oysters that are presented in a neat and orderly manner. The test for the Judges is how attractive the tray would look for a customer in a hotel or restaurant.


The following penalty points may be imposed:

  •  An oyster not severed from it's shell                                                   4 points

  • An oyster with blood                                                                           30 points

  • An oyster with shell or grit on it's flesh                                                  4 points

  • An oyster, the flesh of which is cut or sliced                                         4 points

  •  An oyster not presented upright                                                           4 points

  •  For each oyster not opened or presented                                          30 points

(If an oyster shell is presented empty, or the flesh only is presented, the oyster will be deemed not to have been presented).

The winner will be determined by the lowest combined time, bonus and penalties. In the event of a draw, the competitor with the lower penalty shall be deemed the winner. If they are still equal the competitor with the highest bonus award will be declared the winner.

These rules have been based on the Galway International Oyster Opening Competition rules. The decision of the Judges in relation to the interpretation of these rules is binding on all competitors and is final.                                  

Revised by Per Olofsson