What is an ormer?
Ormer is the local name for what are known worldwide as abalones. They are gastropod molluscs which are basically marine snails.
An ormer will take 3 to 4 years to grow to 9cm in length, and a fully mature ormer can be as big as 15.5cm in length. They can live for more than 15 years.
Fishing for ormers
There are strict controls for fishing for ormers. Ormers can only be caught at low water by fishermen. Legislation was introduced with the intention of providing greater protection to the ormer stocks without imposing any extra restrictions on low water fishermen.
Ormer fishing legislation states that:
- fishing for ormers may only take place from 1 October to 30 April. During that period, fishing may only take place on the first day of each new or full moon and the 3 following days - these fishing periods are known as 'ormering tides'
- if a full moon falls, for example, on 29 April, fishing still cannot take place after 30 April
- the minimum legal size for the ormer is 9cm measured across the broadest part of the shell
- scuba diving for ormers is not permitted
Ormer biology and regulations in Jersey leaflet
Possession of ormers
- it is an offence to possess or export fresh ormers at any time other than between 1 October and 30 April. During that period, fresh ormers may only be possessed on the first day of each new or full moon and the 3 following days if possessed on a boat and the 5 following days if possessed on land
- fresh ormers may only be exported on the first day of each new and full moon and the 3 following days
- it is never permitted to export ormers that are not fresh. The term 'fresh' does not include frozen, cured or otherwise preserved
- low-water fishermen wishing to freeze ormers to be eaten out of season may still do so