Oysters hailed as island cash boost
A Stewart Island resident has applied for consent to cultivate oysters at three new sites around the Island, which he hopes will be a source of income for islanders who he believes rely too heavily on the "fickle tourism industry".
Len Lind proposes to farm Foveaux Strait/Bluff dredge oysters at Nathan's Island, Nugget and Horseshoe Bay.
Mr Lind had consent from Environment Southland in 2010 to establish a small pilot operation in Horseshoe Bay.
A change to the Resource Management Act in 2011 meant he could now apply outside the recognised aquaculture management areas.
Mr Lind worked on the process of settlement and growth and used the frames of pots originally used for catching rock lobster.
The method had strong parallels with the concept of Transient Gear Shellfish Aquaculture, he said.
It would involve the enhancement of species endemic to the area and not the introduction of an alien species.
He wanted to extend his operation to prove the technology and provide the basis for a cottage industry on the island.
The tourism industry was fickle on Stewart Island and another industry was needed to be sustainable, he said.
"A small-scale industry would be a valuable diversification to the Stewart Island economy."
For a fulltime operation, nine sites would be required but his initial consent was for three.
"Oysters were first caught on Stewart Island, so it is a natural place for them to grow. I can see Stewart Island becoming famous for its oysters."
There would be no damage to the environment in the low impact method, he said.
He had consulted fisheries scientist Bob Street of Southern Shellfish about his project.
Mr Street said the nearby Dancing Star Foundation conservation area would not be affected by the proposal and it would not interfere with any marine life.
It was no different from using a craypot, he said.
"If this is successful, a low-cost, small-scale industry could be established."
Mr Lind and his wife, Susan, applied for consent under the business name of Suelen Properties Ltd.
The application has been put out for public submission, which will close on November 5.
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