Cloud over future oysters for Oysterfest

BOUNTY: Gabrielle Veillet and Jennifer Zippel display some of this year's oysters at Zippel's Smoky Bay Oysters.

BOUNTY: Gabrielle Veillet and Jennifer Zippel display some of this year's oysters at Zippel's Smoky Bay Oysters.

The provider of oysters for Ceduna's Oysterfest says this year’s batch is ready but next year may be uncertain due to the shortage of oyster spat.

Zippel’s Smoky Bay Oysters has been supplying the oyster tent for the last 20 years and has set aside 2000 dozen for this year.

This will include 1600 dozen opened with the remainder to be put in reserve or sold closed.

Co-owner and manager Ashley Zippel said this year’s oysters were in very good condition and had been put aside for the past couple of months as had been done in recent years.

However he warned there was a cloud of uncertainty over next year’s festival.

“We urge people to make the most out of this year due to the spat shortage because of POMS (Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome) in Tasmania,” he said.

“While having an effect this Oysterfest we did put oysters aside several months ago.

“Next year there could be a cloud over availability.”

Oysterfest coordinator Annette Plane said a goal ahead of this year’s event was to reduce the reliance on one product to ensure there would continue to be oysters.

She said this year oysters would be a part of a seafood showcase of the Eyre Peninsula.

“This year we’ve tried to increase the range of seafood available with oysters being a part of that rather than the be all end all,” she said.

Ms Plane said there was a possible option of looking outside of Smoky Bay for additional oysters if there was a future shortage but any decision would be made in consultation with Far West Oyster Zone growers.

This year the oyster tent will once again be open serving oysters with the aim of having waiting times of no more than five minutes.

Toppings on natural oysters will return and a new recipe will also be revealed.

Mr Zippel said the oysters were top quality this year.

Smoky Bay oyster growers volunteer to help to open the oysters at the oyster tent.

People got a taste of Oysterfest at Marilyn’s Country Music Muster on Saturday with oysters provided by Smoky Bay growers.

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