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Spotlight on town's most famous export

Oysters are being celebrated at annual festival Photo: ITV Meridian

Oysters are being celebrated in Whitstable this weekend as hundreds of people visit the town for it's annual festival.

This year the emphasis is on environmental responsibility.

Native oysters have been harvested and cultivated in the Kent seaside town since Roman times. In 1574 a Royal Patent was granted to the owner of Whitstable Manor for the fishing of the local oyster beds.

The sale of these in 1793 resulted in it becoming commercialised as the town's reputation for the shell fish grew. Harvesting continued to increase - going from strength to strength in the Victorian era.

Between the 1940s and 1970s production went into decline due to pollution, disease, bad weather and under-investment.

But there is an oyster renaissance in Whitstable at the moment thanks to a renewed interest in fresh, locally sourced produce.

Seen as a regional delicacy, the mollusc plays a central role in the town's commerce and culture - a focus of local restaurant's and bars as well as the Oyster Festival.

Whitstable's annual Oyster celebration Credit: ITV Meridian

It's traditionally held on the last week of July when the season ends and where fishermen, traditionally, have a break from their work.

Well, thousands of people have hit the Kent coast as the Whitstable Oyster Festival gets in full swing. A number of events have been organised during the weekend, including a colourful parade through the town. Tom Savvides has our report.