Oyster and linefish in short supply due to Bay red tides

Shaun Gillham

THE tide has turned against oyster stocks in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the delicacy is in short supply following the extensive red tides which have occurred over hundreds of kilometres of the Eastern and southern Cape coastlines.

On Tuesday the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality issued a strong warning around the red tide, large swathes of which invaded massive areas of the Bay’s coastline, and occurred between Port Alfred and Knysna, and against the consumption of shellfish – which can become fatally toxic if exposed to red tide.

Port Elizabeth seafood restaurants canvassed by The Herald yesterday reported although the industry was generally quiet, it was mostly business as usual, with the exception of an oyster and linefish supply problem which had been experienced since December.

Walmer Heights-based Cape Town Fish Market manager Stefan Smit said it was business as usual despite the red tide warnings, but the establishment was “really battling” to get oysters and kingklip.

“We source our oysters from Port Elizabeth, so getting them has been difficult. They are sent to Cape Town for testing and there has obviously been a supply problem due to the tide.”

Walmer Park John Dory’s manager Adrian Ackhurst said his outlet was not experiencing any problems due to the fact they were part of a franchise.

The manager of Ocean Basket at the Fig Tree shopping centre in Walmer, who asked not to be named, echoed these sentiments, saying their stock was also sourced through the franchise.

Seaview-based Barnacles owner Sharon du Plessis said she was experiencing problems in sourcing mussels, which she bought locally.

Almor de Sousa, who owns The Mediterranean Seafood House on the beachfront, said he had not experienced any significant problems except for the availability of oysters.