Oysters the order of the day as connoisseurs flock from afar22 May
The battle for the Bluff oyster gets under way for the 2017 season01 March
Big crowds and tight squeezes at the 2016 Bluff Oyster and Food Festival21 May
Bluff oysters in the blood of many Southlanders05 March
Transport World to open pop up oyster bar for start of oyster season01 March
Oyster-lovers get prepared26 February
Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters to feature in NZ Post TV ad19 August
Bluff oyster quota achieved after stormy season10 August
Bluff oyster fleet on home stretch02 July
Bluff Oyster Fest 2015 - Results26 May
Oyster Fest a huge success25 May
Oyster openers prepare to compete21 May
Oyster season on track despite poor weather01 May
VIDEO: Surveying the fishery19 March
Changing times05 March
VIDEO: ONE NEWS - Opening of Bluff Oyster Season01 March
VIDEO: 3 News - Oyster lovers rejoice as season begins01 March
Oyster lovers get their orders in27 February
New look for Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters19 February
2014 Santa Parade24 November
PM puts the knife in – for an oyster treat05 October
Customers cram oyster outlets to get fix03 March
VIDEO: Bluff oysters back on the menu01 March
01 May / Blake Foden - The Southland Times
Bluff’s oyster fleet remains confident of reaching its quota of 10 million oysters before the end of the season despite poor weather hampering efforts over the past month.
Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters general manager Graeme Wright said rain and strong winds prevented boats going out into Foveaux Strait every day this week except Tuesday.
There were still three months left in the season and after good weather during March the target was “definitely achievable”, he said.
“The demand is as crazy as ever, so there have been no issues there,” Wright said.
“The weather was good for the first three or four weeks but since about the week before Easter you could say it’s been a little bit chaotic.”
Wright hoped to have boats back out and oysters available again from Sunday. A lack of oysters to coincide with the start of the duck shooting season on Saturday was a blow, he said.
“This has traditionally been a big weekend for us,” he said. “There are a lot of duck hunters around the country who enjoy having some oysters at the end of the day, but it’s not going to happen this year unfortunately.”
Wright said the quota for Foveaux Strait had been set at 10 million oysters, down from 13.2 million last year.
The reduction was the result of a decision to take a cautious approach as the fishery continues its battle with the parasite bonamia, he said.
“Since 2005 we’ve had about a 10 per cent mortality rate in our fishery, but last year it was up around 20 per cent,” Wright said.
“The forecast for this season is back around 10 or 11 per cent, but because we had a bit more bonamia out there last year it’s knocked the density of the oysters around a bit so we’ve scaled it back by about 3 million oysters as a precaution.
“The season finishes on August 1 and whether we’ve hit the quota or not, that’s when we’ll be finishing.”
Wright said more research aimed at better understanding bonamia - which forced the closure of the fishery between 1994 and 1996 and killed about 90 per cent of the oyster population in 2001/02 - was being conducted each year.
“Bonamia is part of the fishery - it’s well-documented and it’s not ideal but it’s reality,” he said.
“There’s no magic pill to get rid of it so as a fishery we’ve just got to understand it and learn to manage and live with it.”
- The Southland Times