One-off Bluff oyster season extension for World Cup

Bluff oysters will be on the menu during the rugby World Cup thanks to a one-off extension of the commercial catch season.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley announced the extension today, saying it would give rugby supporters the chance to savour one of New Zealand's most treasured delicacies.

The Bluff oyster season finishes on Wednesday but a special permit will allow commercial fishers to catch oysters from next Monday until October 23.

Mr Heatley said there was a relatively short timeframe to showcase the best of New Zealand produce to thousands of rugby World Cup visitors and the permit would give them the chance to taste some of the best oysters in the world.

The Bluff Oyster Management Company applied for the special permit on behalf of the oyster industry and would manage the season on behalf of quota holders.

The permit avoids the peak oyster spawning period from November through summer, but allows for fishing to stop should spawning take place earlier than expected.

"The sustainability of the fishery was a key concern when considering this special permit," Mr Heatley said.

"Any additional catch will actually be taken from within the existing total allowable commercial catch for oysters, which was set to ensure sustainability."

The extension applies only to commercial fishing and the recreational season will wrap up on Wednesday as planned.



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