THE OYSTER FISHERY AT MUMBLES, GLAMORGAN By COLIN MATHESON, M.A., B.Sc. From very early times oysters have been an article of diet in this country, and British oysters, as we read in the works of various Latin writers, were imported to Rome to tempt the jaded appetites of her gourmands. Excavations on Roman sites in all parts of Great Britain have revealed that the oyster was an equally popular food with the legions in this country; as regards South Wales in particular, the collections of animal remains from Caerleon, now in the Department of Zoology at the National Museum, contained numerous oyster shells at all chronological levels within the fortress, as well as in and around the amphitheatre, and the same applies to the material from Caerwent. It is a reasonable assumption, though one hardly susceptible of proof, that many or all of these oysters were obtained from beds along the shores of the Bristol Channel, as were the oysters consumed in South Wales in later days. Considerable oyster fisheries are known to have existed at various places on the South Wales coast at least as early as the reign of Elizabeth; thus a cargo of 20,000 oysters was shipped from Tenby in 1580, and George Owen, in his description of Pembrokeshire published in 1603, refers in some detail to the oyster beds at Milford Haven, Caldy and Stackpole. With the exception of a few beds lying within Milford Haven, all the natural oyster beds of South Wales which are, or have been, large enough to be of any importance are situated in the open sea near the mouth of the Bristol Channel, at varying distances from the coast, between Stackpole Head and Porthcawl, in water of moderate depth. The most important beds are those lying between Port Eynon Head and Mumbles Head, and in Swansea Bay. These formerly supported one of the most profitable oyster fisheries in the British Isles, which was worked more or less continuously over a long period of time and may even yet regain something of its former standing.