Large tides, courier delays among obstacles at start of oyster season03 March
Hopes for pearler as oyster season starts02 March
Oyster season over but people still have a craving for more16 August
Over and out for oyster season30 July
Crowds welcome oyster festival’s return24 May
Oyster harvesters ‘battle life and limb’ for Bluff festival21 May
Strong sales in first month of Bluff oyster season08 April
Oysters back for ‘passionate’ Southland03 March
Bluff oysters are on their way ... very soon02 March
‘Surprisingly strong’ year for oyster firm21 August
Hoping to step up supply of oysters25 April
Shucks, Bluff oyster season looks set to be pearler05 March
Encouraging signs as young oysters appear in latest season03 March
Industry reckons it is oysters on Monday29 February
Aw, shucks - yet another title27 May
Frisky Bluff oysters not so plump05 April
Demand strong as Bluff oysters hit the market04 March
Fleet ready to launch for start of oyster season28 February
30 July / Luisa Girao / Otago Daily Times
A Southland oyster company is turning away customers after it reached its quota for the season — more than a month before it officially ends.
Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters general manager Graeme Wright said there were some hiccups with the weather through the season.
However, an outstanding harvest in March and great customer demand for the delicacies had allowed his fishery to reach its season’s quota more than 30 days before the official end date.
The season ran from March 1-August 31, but last Monday the shuckers at the Bluff company opened their last catch.
“The Ministry [of Primary Industries] set a quota for the whole industry of about 15million oysters. But we [the oyster industry] chose to not catch all those this year, as we having being doing in the recent times.
“We are taking a very conservative approach,” Wright said.
In March, MPI revealed three wild oysters were found to be infected with Bonamia ostreae in a small area near Stewart Island, which raised concerns for the industry.
Mr Wright said that did not affect the numbers for this season.
The industry chose to catch only 7.5million of the MPI quota, to ensure the sustainable management of the Bluff oyster fishery.
“We know that there are a huge amount of juvenile oysters out there ... so we need to give them a bit of time to grow. They are quite slow and need a bit of time to grow.”
The early end of the season was great for the companies, but could be disappointing for some customers, he said.
“It is all gone. There are very sad customers. Every day I’m turning them away and, just this morning, I reckon we had at least 40 calls.
“It is nice to have the job done earlier.”