Bluff oysters in short supply after ‘chaos’

03 March / John Lewis - Otago Daily Times

Bluff oyster supplies were thin on the ground in Dunedin yesterday, leaving many in the city scrambling for their annual fix of the southern delicacy.

Few made it to Dunedin because demand for the first Bluff oysters of the season was so high in Bluff and Invercargill.

Graeme Wright, manager of Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, one of the main suppliers to Dunedin fish stores, said they were flying off the shelves so quickly in Invercargill yesterday, there were not enough to send to Dunedin.

Mr Wright, who is also spokesman for the Bluff Oyster Management Co, said up to 70 customers were queueing down the street outside his shop in Invercargill at one stage to buy them.

“My shop’s just been chaos all morning. We haven’t been able to put a single oyster in a poly bin to head north yet. It’s been so busy.

“When you’ve got so many people in the shop, it’s pretty hard to put them in a poly bin and send them away.

“Do you put them in a poly bin and send them to Dunedin, or do you sell them in the shop here in Invercargill?

“It’s the first day of the season and it’s a bit rough if Southlanders can’t have the first crack at them.”

He estimated Barnes Oysters sold about 36,000 oysters at the store yesterday.

They were selling for $25 a dozen.

He hoped to be able to start sending some oysters to Dunedin last night.

Harbour Fish owner Aaron Cooper, of Dunedin, is supplied by both Barnes Oysters and Ngai Tahu, so despite not receiving any from Barnes, he was able to put some Bluff oysters on the shelf for customers yesterday.

“Supplies are always a bit light at the start of the season. Everyone gets a wee few.

“Next week we’ll have plenty.”

The Best Cafe also managed to get some in from a different supplier, but they were so few, they were only being cooked for people reserving tables for dinner last night.

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