Strong sales in first month of Bluff oyster season

08 April / Blair Jackson / Stuff

Perfect weather for the first month of the oyster season has seen up to 4000 dozen of the southern delicacy sold every day from one Southland company.

Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters manager Graeme Wright said a “good honest” season has processors working to capacity.

“Sales have been magnificent. Crazy first month to Easter,” Wright said.

The Southland and wider national markets had been “exceptionally strong”, he said.

However, oyster lovers may be out of luck this weekend, as boats have been in port since Easter with strong winds in the Foxeaux Strait.

“It’s been blowing its socks off,” he said.

The fishery was also in good stead for seasons to come, as there had been a “huge increase” in juvenile oysters in the previous two to three years, Wright said.

Maturation takes about six to eight years.

However, there is concern amongst the fishery after the oyster parasite Bonamia ostreae was discovered in a small area of the Foveaux Strait in late March.

A rahui is in place for the area, which has not been fished in the past five years.

Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie earlier said “we can’t stress enough that Bonamia ostreae does not affect food safety and fresh Bluff oysters are safe to eat.”

The infection was found in three wild oysters during routine six-monthly testing that had been in place since the parasite was detected in Big Glory Bay in 2017.

Wright said he expected to hear results of further testing later next week.

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