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29 February / Luisa Girao / Otago Daily Times
Boats and the dredge are ready to be in Foveaux Strait for the start of the Bluff oyster season.
It starts officially at midnight on Sunday but the 11 oyster boats usually leave Bluff earlier in the night to have the first catch available at noon.
However, Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said customers could expect the oysters only on Monday when the shops opened.
Last year, the season was delayed due to weather conditions but he believed that would not happen again this year.
“At this stage, everything looks pretty good. If you believe the forecast, the boats should get out on Sunday and we will be ready to open our stores on Monday morning.”
Mr Wright expects a good season as their first tests at the wild oyster fishery did not show any sign of Bonamia ostreae.
“Indications show we will have a similar season as last year. We have to wait until the boats come back with more samples to test them — but the early indication shows the chance of diseases this year is very low, like last year.”
He said while the industry was allowed to take 14.95million oysters from the Foveaux Strait fishery throughout the season, they had decided to start with 7.5million to guarantee sustainability.
“We should have a positive season ... I’m confident.”