Hopes for pearler as oyster season starts

02 March / Otago Daily Times

The frenzy that is the annual Bluff oyster season is upon us - and customers can get a taste of it from today.

Boats headed out into Foveaux Strait yesterday and oyster openers were ready to shuck many of the delicacies in the factories across the region.

Oysterman John Edminstin and his vessel Polaris was the first to return to shore with the oysters.

The 72-year-old Bluff man and his team of five left South Port at 4am for the first catch and returned at lunchtime with 35 bins filled.

‘‘It is great to be back in the sea for the oyster season but it is also tiring as I’ve been doing that for 50 years.

‘‘It’s still too early to say how the season will go, but the reality is that any skipper wants a better season than the year before. There is no change there.’’

Even though the first oysters arrived yesterday afternoon, popular shops around Bluff and Invercargill decided to only start serving them to the public today.

Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters manager Graeme Wright said demand had been great, but it was still too early to predict how the season would play out.

Early indications were the fishery was in good health and the weather forecast for this week was looking good for fishermen.

‘‘Wild fisheries are challenging because we need to rely on a range of factors. It is still early to say anything — we are cautiously optimistic for the season.’’

He believed his store would sell more than 1000 dozen on the season’s first day.

The season ends on August 31.

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