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Bluff Oyster season has begun

26 March 2015
The Bluff Oyster season officially began in March and runs until July/August. Grown slowly in the cold clean waters of the Foveaux Strait Bluff Oysters are exalted by many as the world's finest oysters and are a true taste of New Zealand's incredible seafood.
Bluff oysters
Although commonly known as the Bluff Oyster, it is known by others names, including mud oyster, flat oyster, dredge oyster, Foveaux Strait oyster and deep water oyster. The species is actually found throughout New Zealand, but is most common in the south. A quota system was introduced in 1963, the twelve oyster boats then engaged in the industry being set a limit of 170,000 sacks per season (each sack containing, on average, 800 oysters). The quota was progressively reduced until in 1970 with 23 boats operating, it was 115,000 or 5000 per boat (in eating terms that equates to two dozen oysters for every man, woman and child in the country). Seasons were relatively good until the 1986/87 season when the beds were struck by the parasitic protozoan Bonamia. This caused the oysters to become watery and black. Because of the Bonamia the season was ceased in 1991 and did not reopen until 1994 with a limited quota and fewer boats. Fortunately the oyster populations have been recovering, and quotas are gradually being increased.

When oystering first began it was a race to get the first oysters back to the wharf. Today some boats are met by helicopters who whisk the oysters away to be distributed throughout the country.

If you are a real fan make sure you head down to theBluff Oyster and Food Festival on the 25th of May.
 
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