Southern Clams
about us

 

 

 

 

 

Body dredging

About Us

Southern Clams is a thriving New Zealand seafood fishery that harvests in Otago coastal waters. Southern Clams is recognised as a pioneer in environmental responsibility in the clam fishery industry and has carved out niche markets in Europe, North America and Asia and supplies the New Zealand market.

Established by Roger Belton in the 1980s, Southern Clams commitment to developing sustainable management systems for both the shellfish and its habitat are witnessed by its investment in research. Since 1982 the company has researched the impact of its harvesting on habitats, refining its operations according, as well as the intrinsic importance of sustaining the littleneck clams’ environment for future generations, the company’s livelihood depends upon it.

Southern Clams uses its own unique wild-stock rotational harvesting system to meet international and domestic markets and to manage and care for the local shellfish resource in a way that ensures its livelihood and sustainability for future generations.

Southern Clams aligns itself with those who care about the environment - its approach to harvesting conserves resources for the future and the company directly lobbies government and other appropriate bodies to ensure the habitat remains protected.

View the unique environment where we operate.

Committed to Carbon Neutrality

Southern Clams has invested in its own forestry venture and in 2011 its production footprint will be carbon neutral to the first point of sale in New Zealand. The company has a strong commitment to being carbon neutral to any point of sale in the world by 2018.

In 2010 Southern Clams planted 83 hectares (205 acres) of bio diverse forestry in the Otago region and plans to plant 300 hectares (740 acres) by 2018. The company has planted a range of species with varying growth rates which include Larch, Douglas Fir, some deciduous species, native beech and Eucalypts. 2011 will be the first year when the trees will have some carbon sequestration value. The company plans to outsource carbon credits to make up for the shortfall in this first year.

As the trees mature, and with more hectares being planted, Southern Clams believes that by 2018 its entire production footprint including all export sales will be carbon neutral without the company having to outsource carbon credits.

The company’s decision to grow its own forest rather than buying carbon credits on the open market is an investment in economic stability. By owning our own carbon generating mechanism we are insulating the company from the volatility of the carbon credit market.

Energy Audit

Southern Clams commissioned Energy Consultants Transitionz Group Ltd to conduct an energy audit of its New Zealand operations. Their report was published in May 2010. The audit is primarily focussed on energy use, waste, transport and gas emissions were also considered and reported. Interested parties wishing to view the report are invited to contact Southern Clams.

How the harvest takes place

Southern Clams' unique wild-stock rotational harvesting system uses a 'body dredge' in the water. Body dredge harvesting uses a light dredge with a 'riddling' basket pulled by each harvester. Body dredging is a 'wet' harvesting system, and the process causes less damage to shellfish and is gentler on the habitat. All unwanted material brought in with the harvest, including dead shells, other shellfish species (small numbers of pipi, oyster, mussels, for example) seaweed, sand, and any undersize or unwanted grade clams, are returned to the bed. Up to eight harvesters and two or three small vessels work in shallow water over the beds for two or three hours. Harvests (which usually take place six days a week) are timed according to the tides, and market demand.

Protecting the future

While all harvesting is 'to order', when demand exceeds supply it remains unfilled as the supply level is set by The Ministry of Fisheries. Currently, the total allowable commercial catch of 1,475 tonnes, set by The Ministry of Fisheries, is not harvested, and the company only harvested 956 tonnes of that in the 2005-6 fishing year. Southern Clams deliberately adopts a conservative approach to harvesting, as it has sought to increase its knowledge of managing the resource. The company believes that as humans, we all modify our environment. The important thing is to be careful about how we do it.

Come and see what we do!

We have a number of open days throughout the year. If you would like to attend one of our open days, give us a call (03) 477-1505.