The State Government and industry are working together to ensure the continual supply of juvenile Pacific Oysters and help safeguard South Australia’s $32 million a year industry.
Locally produced juvenile oysters (spat) have begun distribution to oyster growers from two Eyre Peninsula based hatcheries – Kellidie Bay Hatchery and Sustainable Aquatic Industries – and the State Government’s South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
The move is in response to a critical shortage of Pacific Oyster spat in South Australia following the February outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania.
South Australia is the only oyster growing state to remain POMS free. POMS causes rapid and high mortalities in farmed Pacific Oysters, up to 100% within days of being detected, and can spread quickly once introduced.
South Australian growers previously relied heavily on Tasmania for the supply of spat, which was halted following the POMS outbreak.
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) has been working with the South Australian Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA) and local growers to address the risk of POMS and ensure a boosted local supply of spat.
PIRSA has also fast-tracked the granting of new land-based licences for two new oyster hatcheries to establish in South Australia – Eyre Shellfish and Cameron of Tasmania – both companies who were previously based in Tasmania but due to the outbreak of POMS are also establishing operations in SA, one of which will be located in the Lincoln Marine Science Centre.
Quotes attributable to PIRSA Director Fisheries & Aquaculture Policy, Sean Sloan
This is a great example of the State Government and industry working together to effectively ensure Pacific Oyster spat supply for our local industry.
The State Government provided additional funding in May to the two Eyre Peninsula hatcheries to up-scale their production of spat, along with assisting in establishing a
further two hatcheries to increase supply to local oyster farmers.
Also, by enabling SARDI to increase production of spat, it not only boosts production and confidence for local oyster growers, it also provides ongoing protection against
POMS and a further safeguard for our oyster industry.
SARDI have modified their Research and Development facility at West Beach to fit the requirement of large scale Pacific Oyster spat production.
I congratulate all involved in coming together to help secure production and job security for our oyster farmers to allow them to continue to produce premium Pacific Oysters in
the pristine waters of the state.
Quotes attributable to SAOGA Executive Officer, Trudy McGowan
The South Australian Oyster Industry is exceptionally grateful for the effort the State Government has made to support our industry during this critical time.
Through the assistance of SARDI and the support of two local hatcheries, who have all responded quickly and efficiently to the spat shortage, our growers are hoping to
minimise future losses.
We are definitely not through the worst of it but having spat flowing again is a very positive sign.
Following the outbreak in Tasmania, a ban on the importation of Pacific Oyster spat and oyster farming equipment from Tasmanian hatcheries was introduced and is in place
until March 2017 to ensure the disease doesn’t enter SA.
PIRSA has also been providing industry with extensive support including:
- more than 20 PIRSA staff being deployed to the SA response to POMS
- $320,000 to two SA hatcheries for emergency assistance to help increase spat support
- fast-tracked the granting of two new land-based licences for two new oyster
- hatcheries to be established in South Australia – Eyre Shellfish and Cameron of Tasmania
- hosting an Emergency Response Exercise with industry and PIRSA staff to practice PIRSA’s POMS Disease Response Plan.