March 16-18, 2025 | Boston, USA

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Oyster Shucking Competition

Monday, March 11, 2024 | 2:30pm

Sponsored by:

Make your way to the Demonstration Theater for this fun, heated competition where contestants pit against each other, and against the clock to shuck oysters as fast as they can. If you think you have what it takes to enter this heated event, please email Minh Ly-Gordon at [email protected].

Official Rules & Regulations


All contestants will receive free admission to Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America on Monday, March 11, 2024.

Competitor Information

  1. Competitors must arrive promptly at the specified orientation point (stage) before the event at 2:00PM in order to participate. Once your application is submitted and approved more specific information about competition day will follow.
  2. Bring your own blade. No mechanically assisted knives will be permitted. Any additional items used including blocks, boards, bricks, hammers, etc. will need approval of the Head Judge.
  3. Both speed and quality shucks are the key factors to winning this competition.
  4. You will be shucking a combination of both Atlantic (Crassotrea virginica) and Pacific Oysters (Crassotrea gigas).
  5. Application and Waiver Form – IMPORTANT! Contestant must submit a completed Shucker Application and Waiver Form in advance of the competition in order to participate. Please email Minh Ly-Gordon at [email protected] for more information. The form can be downloaded here.

Equipment, Performance and Judging

  1. Oyster sponsors (both Atlantic & Pacific) will select and pre-bag eight oysters for each contestant.
  2. Shuckers are assigned one Atlantic and one Pacific oyster bag randomly. The shucker removes the oysters from his/her bag and arranges them for shucking. Shucker may appeal to the Chief Judge any oyster considered of improper quality for the contest. At the Chief Judges discretion, he/she may substitute another oyster taken from an additional container on hand designated for substitutions. The final number of oysters to ultimately be shucked will be announced at the orientation (estimated between 12-20 oysters total).
  3. Shuckers may wear fingerstalls or gloves, use their own knives and carry an extra knife for use in case the first breaks. ALL knives used must have been approved by the Chief Judge prior to the start of the contest. No mechanically assisted knives will be allowed.
  4. The shucker will poise his/her knife at head height to indicate readiness.
  5. At a signal of the Shuck-Off emcee (previously demonstrated) all timekeepers’ simultaneously start their stopwatches and shuckers begin shucking.
  6. Contestants place each oyster on an unbroken half-shell and arrange all neatly on a coded tray provided. Oysters should be whole, uncut and free from the shell.
  7. When a contestant has completed shucking and has arranged the oysters to his/her satisfaction, he/she will raise both hands overhead and step back from the shucking table. The timekeeper will stop his/her watch. Once this occurs a shucker may not touch the tray of oysters.
  8. Timekeepers will deliver the coded trays to the judges’ tables in such a manner that the judges will not be aware of whose tray they are judging.

Judging the Oysters

Shuckers are randomly assigned one Atlantic and one Pacific oyster bags each. Oysters are pre-packaged by the sponsors 6/bag.  The Shucker will remove, and arrange the oysters for the contest. At the chief judge’s discretion, the Shucker may appeal to swap out any oyster considered to be of improper quality for the contest. Extra Oysters for swapping out will be available. The Shucker will shuck, all 12 oysters – 6 East, 6 West as quickly and cleanly as possible, and present of the designated tray for presentation to the judges. If the Shucker gets a “bad”, “dead”, “box”, “winterkill” or otherwise normally “un-serveable” oyster – shuck, and present anyways – as this is not your fault, and the judges will not penalize for this. Pretend it is good to go. Make sure you shuck and present 6/6 – all 12 oysters.


Judges will add seconds to each contestant’s shucking time according to the following penalty table:

  • An oyster not completely severed from its shell: Add 2 seconds
  • An oyster presented on a broken shell: Add 3 seconds
  • An oyster presented with grit or other foreign substance (take out blood): Add 3 seconds
  • Blood in the oyster – from a cut hand – is DQ (disqualification): Add 3 seconds
  • An oyster not placed properly on the shell: Add 5 seconds
  • A missing oyster: Add 20 seconds


Judges may award a bonus time reduction of up to ten (10) seconds as an award for a tray presentation that is deemed outstanding.  This may or may not be a “perfectly scored” tray.  This must be a unanimous decision from the Judges team and is completely at their discretion.

  1. Each timekeeper reports their contestant’s shucking time (in seconds) to the Stage/Shucking Clerk.  When Judges have completed scoring each tray, they turn in their results to the Stage/Shucking Clerk who delivers them to the Computation team. Total adjusted time (penalties/bonuses considered) for each shucker is then computed for the Organizing Sponsor to announce at the end of the competition.  The winner is the contestant with the lowest total seconds that has not been disqualified by the judges.
  2. Disqualification is rare.  However, disqualification could result from a majority opinion of the Organizing Sponsor, Chief Judge, and Timekeeper that a contestant:
    — Intentionally touched his/her oysters or tray after having signaled completion.
    — Distracted a fellow competitor by vocal or physical interference during the shucking heat.
    — Committed a flagrant, inexcusable impropriety during the progress of the shucking heat.


  1. Judges’ discretions are final.
  2. All income taxes are the responsibility of the winner(s).
  3. Winners will receive their prize(s) at the conclusion of the event. It is the sole responsibility of the winner(s) to provide Diversified Communications, producer of the event, with their contact information in order to receive their prize(s) if such prize(s) was not claimed on site.
  4. The winner will make him/herself reasonably available to Diversified Communications and the Organizing Sponsor for interviews and press releases associated with Seafood Expo North America and the Shuck-Off Competition.
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