Big news: 2012 oysters to be big 'uns
Oyster lovers could have to wait another day to get their first fill of the delicacy for the year with strong winds expected for the open of the season tomorrow. Direct Fish and Oyster owner Willie Calder yesterday said winds were forecasted at 35 knots for tomorrow, well above the 20 knots he considered bad, so he did not expect any fishermen to be out in Foveaux Strait in the morning. The wind was expected to ease in the afternoon so boats may go out then, but that could mean the oysters would not be opened until Friday, he said. "The forecast is quite accurate these days so ... if it is 35 knots it's not going to be good for anybody," he said.
Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said plan A was to get some boats out at 11pm to begin oystering at midnight, then return to Bluff by 11am, but if the wind was too strong plan B was to get the boats out on Thursday afternoon. The latter would mean the oysters would not be opened until Friday, but if they did get out early they could be on the shelves by about 2pm, he said.
Oysterman Anthony Fowler, who skippers the Ariel II, has spent the past week preparing his boat for the season and said the forecast did not sound good, but he would try to get out any-way.
Meanwhile, Mr Calder said the oysters were looking good this season.
Last year they did not grow much and it was hard finding decent sizes, but this season they had great growth so "it shouldn't be hard to find decent oysters", he said.
Mr Wright said the oysters were in high demand and would be sold as quickly as they were landed.
The delicacy would be spread evenly to those who wanted them from Southland to Auckland. He said Barnes would be selling their oysters for $23 a dozen, which was the same price as last year.