Bluff oyster fleet on home stretch

02 July / Blake Foden - The Southland Times

Bluff’s oyster fleet is well on track to reach its 2015 quota, having already harvested about 80 per cent of the total target with two months remaining this season.

Bluff Oyster Management Company spokesman Graeme Wright said while rough weather had often prevented boats from going out for days at a time, about 8 million oysters had been harvested since March.

The boats went out this morning but before that had not been out since last Thursday, he said.

“We’ve been a bit behind the eight-ball with the weather at different stage, but there’s no thought at all that we won’t reach the quota,” Wright said.

“We’ve reached about 80 per cent of the target and we’re only two-thirds of the way through the season, but when we have been able to get out we’ve been ticking along quite well.”

Demand for the delicacies had been as strong as ever throughout the country, Wright said.

Wright, who is also general manager of Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, said his company’s re-brand earlier this year had been well-received by customers.

“To me the brand that has the most impact is just Bluff oysters, regardless of which company is selling them,” he said.

“But it was time for a change and to freshen up a bit, and we’ve had a lot of positive comments about how good the building and the website look.”

The quota was scaled back from 13 million in 2014 to 10 million this year because of concerns about the impact of the parasite bonamia on the Foveaux Strait fishery.

Wright said the mortality rate from bonamia was around 10 or 11 per cent, down significantly from the 20 per cent figure of 2014.

“We’re closer to what it’s been historically,” he said.

“We’ve had it rough with the weather since Easter really, but the harvests have been very good.

“There haven’t been any major problems with [bonamia].”

- The Southland Times

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