Karuah oyster farmers are back in business

January is normally a hectic period for most local businesses, and more often than not it also proves to be the most profitable few weeks of the year with a steady flow of visitors.

One attraction for holiday makers is of course Karuah’s famous oysters, but due to the heavy rains experienced in early January, oyster Farmers at Karuah were left devastated.

Paula Ann Cole
Paula Ann Cole

This affected hundreds of customers when the farmers were unable to supply any oysters.

One family operated company at Karuah, Cole Brothers Oysters, were left high and dry for nearly five weeks due to the heavy downfalls around the Karuah River and like all the other growers, were instructed not to supply oysters by Safe Foods NSW.

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Speaking with News Of The Area, Steven Cole from Cole Brothers Oysters said, “The rain couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. January is one of our biggest months for counter sales at our shop.”

“With many people on holidays and passing through town, the local Farmers here have always enjoyed that extra boost of income with an influx of visitors. Unfortunately this year we couldn’t supply them oysters which was a blow.”

“The indicator for us is when we have a deluge of 40mm of rain or more. Water samples are sent to Safe Foods NSW and if the salinity level of the water goes too high it could make oysters prone to some diseases. It’s Safe Food NSW call if we can supply or not. Unfortunately this time round it took five weeks for the water levels to return to normal,” he said.

On most days you’ll see Paula Cole busily opening and preparing oysters for sale in the retail shop.

Speaking with News Of The Area she said, “It was devastating for us and the other growers to be unable to supply oysters in January, but we’re back in business and it’s as busy as usual.”

“The boys were kept busy with some maintenance and catching up with odd jobs, and for once we even managed an entire weekend or two off which was nice,” she said.

By Dave BRAZIER

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