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    Rights: University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.
    Published 28 June 2013 Referencing Hub media



    The spat fall on Ninety Mile Beach is quite unpredictable. There’s a general pattern – it generally turns up between August and the end of December and sometimes a secondary supply in January, February, March, but it varies from year to year, and the volume varies enormously.

    Also the quality varies enormously as well. Sometimes the seed mussels that come in are well fed, and once they’re put on the farm, they grow very quickly. Other times, they’re in poor condition, and a large proportion of them die or they get eaten or they swim off before they have a chance to grow up.

    The spat fall is absolutely critical to the industry. We’ve got an over $200 million industry that relies on that wild seed supply, and so having a continual supply of spat there arriving is absolutely critical. So there have been periods of almost a year where there’s been no spat available at all and it’s caused a major problem for the mussel industry. And in those times, the industry has shown a huge interest in developing hatchery systems and getting them up and running and trying to produce spat through those alternative methods.

    Sheree Wagener
    Professor Andrew Jeffs, Oliver Trottier – Leigh Marine Laboratory, Auckland University
    Just the Job, Dave Mason Productions.
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