Did you know that the Pelorus Sound is the heart of the country’s green-lip mussel farming industry – a $200-million a year business? Neither did I.
The industry also includes other species – salmon, oysters and paua – and even seaweed.
Pelorus is also a favourite chill-out spot for cruising whales and five dolphin species.
But I think Duffers’ Reef Rock – in the middle of the Sound – is the oddest in the Pelorus fauna and flora gallery. It’s home to a colony of king shags, cormorants who nest and roost here exclusively – even though there are plenty of other nearby rocks. Why so picky?
This bird is endangered (there are only about 400 remaining) and is unique in the cormorant family in a variety of ways: it’s the biggest, has pink feet, and dives to the greatest depths.
But it needs to develop its social skills.