18 Apr 2013

Plan to introduce Bluff Oysters to Otago harbour

10:18 am on 18 April 2013

Two marine farming companies are looking to team up in a project which could lead to Bluff oysters being introduced to Otago Harbour.

The New Zealand Bluff Oyster Company and Southern Clams applied to the Otago Regional Council on Wednesday for consent to farm the oysters in the Otago Harbour for nine months of the year.

Southern Clams managing director Roger Belton says the quality of water in Bluff Harbour means shellfish cannot be taken for direct sale from there.

But he says the water in Otago Harbour, where Southern Clams already harvests cockles, could be used to finish growing the oysters and purify them.

Mr Belton says spat would be grown at the Bluff hatchery and then put out to grow in Bluff Harbour before being sent to Dunedin.

"We'd put them out in Otago Harbour into waters that are classified as conditionally approved and that means when the conditions are right, which is about 98% of the time, we can take shellfish from those waters and they're deemed fit for sale."

Mr Belton says the companies will now explain their plans to the Dunedin community and Otago Harbour stakeholders.