• John Luxton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

The Minister of Fisheries, the Hon John Luxton, today announced that Cabinet has approved measures to allow a Bluff oyster season to commence on June 1.

These measures allow the fishery to be managed by way of individual quotas this season and remove the limited entry, or ``controlled fishery'' regime under which the fishery has been regulated over the past 17 years.

This season's management framework is an interim one until the fishery can be brought into the quota management system (QMS). The QMS provides a flexible framework for the fishery and allows the trading of individual transferable quota.

Twenty percent of commercial access to the fishery will also be provided for Maori this season as a step towards completion of obligations to Maori under the Deed of Settlement of Maori fisheries claims.

The total commercial catch of 14.95 million oysters and other measures which were applied last season to ensure the sustainability of the fishery will remain in place this season.

Last year saw the first commercial season since surveys shows the oyster beds were recovering from the oyster disease Bonamia that decimated the beds between 1987 and 1992.

Mr Luxton said he hoped that oyster lovers would be able to enjoy the fruits of a very successful harvest.