Unlike the native Eastern oyster, the Pacific oyster is a Japanese transplant, brought to this country after the turn of the century to revitalize the West Coast oyster industry after its native Olympia species (Ostrea lurida) crashed. Hearty and easy to propagate, the Pacific oyster is now the most widely cultured oyster in the world. It is farmed from California to Alaska and in Australia, Europe and Asia. Washington state leads North American production, followed by British Columbia, California, Oregon and Alaska. In the wild, Pacific oysters are found from Alaska to California and in temperate waters around the world. They are nearly always, however, a farm-raised product, grown in suspended systems in bags, racks, lanterns or on ropes. They are named for their region of growth, such as Westcott Bays, Quilcenes, Willapa Bays and so forth. The deep-cupped, smaller Kumamoto is the Pacific oyster held in highest repute by Northwest slurpers. Northwest oyster farmers also produce “all-season,” sterile Pacific oysters called triploids. Because they don’t spawn, they’re in season year-round.