If you’re visiting New Zealand, a must-do is to try bluff oysters! Bluff oysters are known for their deliciously different taste compared to many other breeds of oysters, due to their cold climate which they thrive in and the remarkably clean water found around the area. Typically, they’re harvested by dredging, which is only allowed between March and August.
They’re commonly known as Bluff Oysters but are also known in Maori as the Tio paruparu and by their scientific name, Tiostrea chilensis. They can also be known as mud oysters, flat oysters, Foveaux Straight oysters, dredge oysters, and deep-water oysters.
You can eat Bluff Oysters in a variety of ways – at Erik’s Fish and Chips we serve fresh Bluff Oysters from March to August. You can choose to have deep fried or raw, which you can find on our menu here.
These special shellfish are known as a Kiwi delicacy – so much that Bluff, the small town of roughly 2,000 people, host a festival in their honour once a year around May. This small town is found by the Foveaux straight, which is the body of water which runs between the southern coastline and Stewart Island.
Sustainability of Oysters
Because Bluff oysters are only grown in such a small area of New Zealand, strict quotas and ‘take seasons’ apply to both commercial and personal limits to keep one of our national treasures a sustainable for the future. Bluff oysters have been harvested for over 100 years now; we plan to keep them around for the next 100 years too.
If you’re lucky enough to find Bluff oysters outside of New Zealand they’re likely to be priced significantly higher because of the effort and resources needed to transport seafood. This also means they’re likely to be frozen instead of fresh which contributes to a lower quality produce, yet still at a higher price.
Take advantage of the Otago region bordering Southland (where you’ll find Bluff) and try our delicious, fresh oysters at Erik’s!