“Growing oysters has become our life. As marine farmers on Rakiura, or Stewart Island, we are devoted to the unspoiled environment we live and work in.” Jim and Hilli Maass-Barrett, owners and operators of Oystercatcher’s Choice.
Jim has a background in marine farming. He came to Stewart Island in 1985 and worked for about 15 years on a salmon farm. While working for the company that owned the salmon farm, Jim had some involvement in the set up of the mussel industry at Stewart Island.
Hilli, who comes originally from Rhineland in Germany, has shared Jim’s enthusiasm for marine farming and seafood. She has established her own business, the Kai Kart, which has been a great outlet for local seafood, including blue cod, mussels and Oystercatcher’s Choice oysters.
Jim and Hilli’s company has been involved in marine farming on Stewart Island since 1995, when they applied for and were granted the last water space allocated in Big Glory Bay for mussel farming. This is the only area where aquaculture takes place on the island at present.
Bluff oysters have always been a favourite treat of Jim and Hilli, and indeed the wider population. A number of people throughout New Zealand have tried to cultivate them, with little success.
By observing nature at work over a period of several years, Jim and Hilli developed methods and systems with minimal environmental impact to enhance the natural growth of this wonderful shellfish.
You, as the customer, deserve only the best seafood available. Oystercatcher’s Choice Oysters are available in pottles or a sealed plastic pouch, which prevents leakage and is easier to transport.