Bluff bliss for Rugby World Cup visitors
29 August 2011
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Phil Heatley says a one-off extension to the Bluff oyster season will give Rugby World Cup supporters the chance to savour one of New Zealand’s most treasured delicacies.
"We have a relatively short timeframe to showcase the best of New Zealand produce to the many thousands of visitors who will be visiting our shores during the Rugby World Cup. Issuing a special permit to commercial fishers to run from 5 September to 23 October will give visitors the chance to taste some of the best oysters in the world," says Mr Heatley.
The Bluff Oyster Management Company, applied for the special permit to extend the season on behalf of the oyster industry. It will manage the season on behalf of quota holders.
Without this extension the oyster season ended for both recreational and commercial fishers on 31 August, just prior to the start of the Cup.
The permit runs over the two months of the Cup through to 23 October 2011, and avoids the peak spawning period for oysters from November through summer. Should spawning take place earlier than expected the terms of the special permit allows for oyster fishing to stop.
"The sustainability of the fishery was a key concern when considering this special permit. Any additional catch will actually be taken from within the existing total allowable commercial catch for oysters, which was set to ensure sustainability," says Mr Heatley.
The extension applies only to commercial fishing. The recreational season for Bluff oysters is unchanged and closes on 31 August.