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NZ @ Noon

Most of the country is free of showers this Tuesday lunchtime but clouds are building over the West Coast and rain is likely by later today or this evening.

A front is approaching the country but it’s taking it’s time and rain which is set to spread over much of the nation tomorrow and Thursday is a few hours behind schedule at this stage.

Today appears to be the driest day of the week with Friday not far behind.

Main centre temperatures at midday

Auckland 20

Tauranga 21

Hamilton 21

Wellington 20

Christchurch 18

Dunedin 16

Mussels hit by drought

Marlborough mussel yields are significantly reduced compared to last year, because of the dry weather conditions, say Marlborough mussel farmers and processors.

Kono Seafood on-water manager Dean Higgins said smaller-sized mussels coupled with the high New Zealand dollar were impacting on businesses’ bottom lines.

“The whole industry is hurting at the moment,” he said. “But that’s just mother nature, we’re primary producers and facing the same sort of issues as farmers.”

Kono source their mussels from around the country to keep up with demand, and said slow growth was not isolated to Marlborough Sounds mussels.

About 10,000 tonnes of mussels are processed every year at the Kono Riverlands mussel processing plant, which employs about 160 people.

The factory’s volume was reduced for about four weeks in January and February because they were having difficulty sourcing enough quality mussels, he said.

“We restricted processing to 20 tonne per shift, instead of letting the guys just go for it, which shortened their days to six hours rather than eight.”

It is normal for yields to vary hugely from year to year, but this was probably the worst he had seen in 20 years, he said.

The slow mussel growth did not appear to have affected export markets yet, but he thought it would kick in soon.

WeatherWatch & Marlborough Express


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