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A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry 
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Oyster News  July '20

A newsletter for, and about the NSW Oyster Industry

Innovation

WHAT IT IS?
NSW Oyster Directory

WHAT DOES IT DO?
The directory is a searchable map which helps customers find product. Users are able to filter their searches by: 
  • oyster farms vs. retailers
  • those offering sales direct to the public
  • those offering shipping of oysters to the public
  • those offering home delivery
  • those offering a tourism experience
KEY ADVANTAGES:
With hospitality & tourism expected to recover slowly following the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry needs to find ways to increase retail sales and promote at home consumption. The directory supports oyster sales in NSW, helping connect consumers with product. Many farmers are happy to shorten the supply chain by offering farm gate sales to locals & tourists. This directory helps provide this connection. 

OTHER INFORMATION:
If you're an oyster farmer in NSW and are not yet listed, please follow the simple instructions in the video above to enter your details via an online form here. If you need any help or have any questions, please contact Andy on 0488656366 / Andy@oceanwatch.org.au. You can check out the oyster directory here.
PREVIOUS INNOVATION VIDEOS:

National Oyster Report

Oysters Australia is trialling the publication of a bimonthly National Oyster Report. The intent of the report is to increase transparency across oyster markets in NSW, Tasmania & South Australia. The report provides: 
  • farm gate price for different size grades for both PO & SRO
  • relative levels of production (ie. market-ready stock)
  • farmers comments on growing conditions
  • insights from the supply chain
CLICK HERE: National Oyster Report
Your feedback is important - As this is the first report of its kind produced for the oyster industry I'm interested to know if this is useful or not? Is there information you would like to see included with future editions? Please let me know your thoughts at management@oystersaustralia.org or call 0488656366. 

Classifieds

It is FREE to advertise in these classifieds. Items could include equipment, oysters, businesses or services. Please send details to andy@oceanwatch.org.au or call 0488656366. Please limit your description to 100 words or less, and remember to include your contact details & location. You may also include photos with your post.
CLICK HERE: Classifieds
Interest in grading machines from France?

I've recently been contacted by the French Embassy Trade Commission in Sydney, on behalf of a French company, Technique Conception Controle (TCC). TCC manufacture oyster graders, and are gauging interest in the Australian market. You can check out their flyer here. If you are interested in finding out more about TCC and their oyster graders, please contact Jean-Marc Maurice at the French Embassy Trade Commission on jean-marc.maurice@businessfrance.fr 

SRO Breeding Program

Commercialisation of the Breeding Program - By Matt Cunningham (ASI)

As you most likely have heard Australian Seafood Industries (ASI) was selected as the successful applicant in a recent EOI process to provide commercialisation services to the Sydney Rock Oyster breeding program. The result is that we are entering a negotiation process for provision of this service. 

As part of this process a business plan will be developed by ASI in consultation with NSW DPI and this will form the basis of a contract between the two organisations. It is expected that this process will take some months to complete and in the interim SOCo will continue to manage and supply broodstock. SOCo has been very helpful in providing information to ASI to allow the development of the business plan.

Receiving industry input will be front of mind both when developing the business plan and when ASI commences our role. I have been talking to NSW industry members to hear their thoughts on the program and plan to continue this throughout the process. I will also be updating the NSW Shellfish Committee on 12 August 2020. If you wish to discuss any aspects of the program or have feedback or suggestions – good, bad or indifferent it would be great to hear from you. My number is 0417 965 405.

We see this as a great opportunity to bring our knowledge in managing breeding programs to benefit the NSW industry. We are very confident that the quality of the stock is improving every year and some of the feedback I am receiving from growers who are using the product is very impressive. The hard work done over previous years is certainly starting to bear fruit. We look forward to playing our part in getting more of the product onto farm so that growers can reap the rewards. Regards Matt
Breeding Program Update - By Mike Dove (NSW DPI)

Spat from the 2019 year class families have been exposed to QX disease in the Georges River and these data are currently being analysed by CSIRO and DPI to finalise the annual EBV (estimated breeding value) run.  The EBV run provides updated performance information for all families in the Sydney Rock Oyster Breeding Program and sets in motion the breeding plan to produce the next generation.  It also identifies the commercial candidates for industry hatchery runs.

Refurbishment works are in progress at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute Hatchery. Once these are completed, breeding can commence to produce the 2020 year class. For further information about the SRO breeding program please contact Michael Dove (02 4916 3807 / michael.dove@dpi.nsw.gov.au).

Spat Availability & Hatchery Updates

This section provides a link to the latest information on spat availability. The first link provides an update on the latest hatchery runs. For more information about spat availability, prices and ordering please contact the hatcheries and nurseries directly. The second link provides access to a directory of NSW wild caught spat suppliers. To update or add your details to this directory please contact Andy Myers (0488656366 / Andy@oceanwatch.org.au)
CLICK HERE: Hatchery Stock Availability - July 2020
CLICK HERE: Directory of NSW Wild Caught Spat Suppliers
Seven Seas Oysters - Update by Bruce Redmayne

With Spring on the horizon we are looking forward to receiving our next run of spat, recently spawned by Aquafarms Queensland. Orders are filling quickly but we still have some available so please email spat@sevenseasoysters.com.au or call Bruce on 0413 652 456 to order your spat for this season. 
Southern Cross Shellfish - Update by Garth Richards / Jonathan Daly

Our 2020 season is almost underway with our revamped conditioning unit producing mature ripe gonad in our Broodstock early. The first run of the season is anticipated to be underway this week. New season spat will be available by the end of the year and we are currently taking orders over the phone with Garth Richards - 0449 654 174 or by email on sales@southerncrossshellfish.com.

Over wintered stock have matured extremely well with outstanding growth rates and shape. “We have been receiving spat from Southern Cross Shellfish for over 5 years. The spat is always fast growing and produces desirable shapes. I have no hesitation in recommending Southern Cross Shellfish spat to future customers” – Dean Cole, Cole Bros Oysters.

We have a limited number of over wintered stock available now. Please phone to discuss orders and availability.

Photo: 2019 Southern Cross Shellfish spat on farm for 18 months - Cole Bros Oysters
Aquafarms Queensland - Update by Dave Williams

We successfully conditioned SRO from Natural Catch Selected Wild Broodstock from southern NSW growers and have just completed a very good out of season hatchery run. The spat will be ready late September. We are pleased to be able to produce out of season spat for early spring and we have had great feedback about this southern broodstock with deep cuppy spat and low mortality even under difficult growing conditions from acid sulphate water, fresh water and QX. Kevin and Sandra recently visited nursery customers providing advice on production bottlenecks and answering nursery questions. It all comes down to water flow and stocking rates.

We will be doing another hatchery run at the end of August and this spat will be ready late October. Having early runs makes a huge difference for extra growth and also over catch control. Follow us on Facebook for hatchery updates  

Photos: Bruce & Joy-Lynne Redmayne on a hatchery site visit with young blacklip oysters from the hatchery

NSW Oyster Transformation Project

Oyster farming is sensitive to water quality problems such as pathogenic bacteria and harmful algae. The recent bushfires and subsequent run off have highlighted the need to understand how oyster producing estuaries respond to extreme events. Access to high frequency data is key to developing tools for farm management. The project is using real time salinity and temperature sensing and novel molecular genetic methods (eDNA) to model oyster food safety, pathogenic bacteria, harmful algae, oyster growth and disease, with the aim of changing harvest management plans to reduce harvest closure days.

You can read an update on the NSW Oyster Transformation Project and view some of the findings by clicking here

The NSW Oyster Transformation Project is a collaborative initiative of oyster farmers, the Food Agility CRC, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), NSW Hunter LLS and the NSW DPI (Aquaculture Research and Biosecurity and Food Safety).
CLICK HERE: To read the NSW Oyster Transformation Project Update

News

NSW Fee waivers & rent relief

In late May the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, announced $9m to support NSW seafood industries. This included:
  • $2.1m in fee waivers & rent relief for aquaculture
  • $4m in fee waivers for commercial fishers
  • $200k fee waivers for the charter boat fishing sector
  • $500k in rent relief for fishing co-operatives on Crown Land
  • $2.2m in industry stimulus programs
Businesses that have already paid the management charges will receive a credit on their account with NSW DPI. More information on the fee waivers are available in the NSW DPI Aquaculture July Update here.

For any questions regarding fee relief please contact DPI on 1300720662. Read the Ministers media release here.
Extension to JobKeeper

The Australian Government has extended JobKeeper until 28th March 2021. 

The existing JobKeeper Payment will remain in place until 27 September 2020. From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be extended for businesses and not-for-profits that have been most significantly impacted, the payment rates will be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced. A Treasury factsheet is here and contains a link to alternate tests for assessing eligibility at the discretion of the Commissioner of Taxation.

The ATO is administering the JobKeeper Payment and detailed information and guidance is available on the ATO website.
NSW DPI release July update 

NSW DPI have released an Aquaculture Update for July. This update includes information on: 
  • Bushfire assistance & recovery package (now closed) 
  • Covid-19 Seafood Industry Assistance Package (ie. fee waivers - see above)
  • The SRO selective breeding program 
  • Commercialisation arrangements for the breeding program 
  • Aquaculture administration 
  • Fisheries Compliance (incl. suspension of all triennial lease inspections in 2020) 
  • NSW Food Authority (export approval, and international markets) 
  • Reminder to report damage or stock loss here
AMSA extends National Law general exemptions until 2025

All general exemptions that were due to expire on 30 June 2020 have been extended until 30 June 2025. This includes Exemption 38 for commercial vessels which includes much of the Australian oyster industry.

If you had an approval under a general exemption that was in force on 30 June 2020, you do not need to reapply for a new approval to operate under the general exemption. You can continue to operate under the general exemption until 2025 or the date stated on your approval document. 

You can find details here on Exemption 38 - Marine Safety (Low complexity duties).
Fisheries NSW Spatial Data Portal

Oyster farmers are encouraged to check out the new features on the NSW DPI Spatial Data Portal. In addition to viewing aquaculture leases, you can now also find available lease areas, and well as see harvest area boundaries, and lease markings. Check it out here. Click on Aquaculture and under Supporting Data click on Extra Aquaculture Data for additional bits
Compostable oyster trays

Biopak are now offering a certified compostable oyster tray manufactured from sugarcane. It looks great for retail sales, festivals etc. More details on the tray are provided in the Classifieds section. and you can get an idea of price here.

Great work by Blue Harvest to flag this with Biopak a year ago, and to assist with product development.

Seafood Industry Australia announce $4m marketing grant for Eat Seafood, Australia!

Seafood Industry Australia (the national peak body for seafood) recently received a $4m grant from the Australian Government to use towards a national marketing campaign.The campaign, which is due to be launched in Spring this year, will promote Australian seafood to the nation via tv, print, online and other media channels.

Acting CEO, Veronica Papacosta said, "the funding will allow the Australian seafood industry to deliver a 12-month national awareness program designed to provide a much needed boost to the Australian seafood industry, and the supply chain that supports it including retailers and food service, as we recover from the impacts of Covid-19". Read the full announcement from SIA here.

Oysters Australia are a member of SIA, and are exporing the opportunity to leverage this momentum (and resources) into a national oyster marketing campaign.
Tassie producer develops laser etching system to differentiate product in the market

Oyster producer, Tasmania Oyster Co. (formerly Shellfish Culture) is developing a new laser etching system to identify and trace its products across global markets. The company has developed the new CO2 based laser etching process that allows the company to etch a brand mark (logo) on the oyster’s shell, providing customers with peace of mind concerning the quality and provenance of the product.

Tasmanian Oyster Co.’s new technology will be rolled out to Tasmanian oyster growers, helping them present “a united front” in export markets. It will then be offered to growers in other states. Read the article here, and watch the etching machine in action here.
Last of his kind: the last George's River oyster farmer (ABC Landline)

ABC Landline recently featured Robert Hill, the last oyster farmer on the George's River. The story covers Bob's long-running turmoil with RMS remediation of the land base at Woolooware Bay, and the value of an active oyster industry in the George's River to the SRO breeding program. You can watch the story here.
SBS coverage - Oyster farmers in crisis

Recorded towards the end of the May, this 5m minute video shares some insights on recent farming conditions in NSW from Jim Wild, Sally Maclean, Ricky Christensen & Caroline Henry. 
Government review of Country of Origin labelling opens for comment

The seafood industry has long appealed to the Australian government to make country of origin labelling mandatory for Australian seafood sold in the food service sector, just like it is in the retail sector. Now, there is the opportunity to make this happen as the Government begins an evaluation of the retail legislation which came into effect two years ago. 

If you think that country of origin labelling should be expanded to cover seafood sold in food service please take the evaluation survey here. 

There is one important question in the survey related to seafood and food service which is Question 4. Seafood Industry Australia have provided some suggested text here, which you are welcome to copy & paste.
Nambucca River given all clear following harmful algal bloom

In mid-June the Nambucca River closed to harvest after routine tests detected an harmful algal bloom. After rainfall & sewage closures, not to mention the market crashes that arrived with Covid-19, the detection was the latest in a string of bad news for farmers operating in the river. Read the original media article here. Following further testing in early July, the river was given the all clear with the result revealing no detectable level of the toxin.

A spokesperson from the NSW Food Authority said that "most blooms seem to disperse within 1-2 weeks. In the past 12 months (from 1st July 2019) there have been 23 closures of shellfish harvest areas in NSW due to algal blooms, of which five were due to a positive biotoxin result". Read the media article here.
Public Land Boundary Fencing Program

The NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands.

Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the Northern and Southern fires of late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences. Find out more here.

Marine Estate Management Authority funds roadworks in Wapengo Lake & Pambula Lake catchments

Roadworks aimed at improving water quality at important aquaculture catchments were completed in late May. The sites had been identified as a significant source of sediment to the waterbodies and will have flow-on benefits to local residents, the oyster industry and aquatic in-stream habitats. Read the media article here.
Agristarter loan to start in 2021

An AgriStarter loan scheme will kick off on the 1st January 2021. The loan can be used to assist with buying an existing farm business, undertaking succession arrangements or establishing a new farm business. Up to $2m can be borrowed over 10 years with the first five-years 'interest-only', the variable interest rate is 1.92% from 1st August 2020, and applicants must demonstrate they are in need of financial assistance and have sound prospects of long-term financial viability. Find out more here.
How to prosper in Asia - major report released

A landmark report by Asialink Business – Winning in Asia: Creating long-term value – has just been released. The result of two years of study, it provides vital insights for Australian companies who want to trade or invest in Asia. You can download the report here.
FRDC survey to understand key issues & improve engagement

The FRDC (Fisheries Development Research Corporation) is running a survey to get an understanding of the key issues that those in the seafood industry are facing, and how they can engage better with stakeholders. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be taken here. 
WA opens Oyster Harbour Zone for South Coast aquaculture

The WA Government has committed $1.3m to develop a new aquaculture development zone in Oyster Harbour. 

Declaration of aquaculture development zones ensures approval and management frameworks are in place for start-up and growth opportunities for commercial-scale aquaculture proposals. 

Declaration of the zone in Albany coastal waters is a two stage process, with the first involving declaration of a 500-hectare area in Oyster Harbour. Additional areas in Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound will follow.

Applications are now open for aquaculture licences and leases within the Oyster Harbour area of the Albany Aquaculture Zone. Click here for more details.

Grain grower becomes 'oyster pioneer' in Pilbara experiment

Warren Ure likes to think of himself as an "oyster pioneer" although he grew up on a sheep and wheat farm "a long, long way from the water".

Even so, he's set to become the Pilbara's first oyster farmer, as Maxima Rock Oyster Company, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, and the WA Government investigate the viability of starting a new industry for the hot and dusty Pilbara region, more synonymous with mining. Read the full article here.

Employment

It is FREE to advertise employment listings. Please send through details via email to Andy@oceanwatch.org.au or call 0488656366. 

Please include a job title, job summary, location, closing date and contact details. More detailed position descriptions, selection criteria etc. will be provided as a PDF link for download. 
CLICK HERE: Employment

Committees & Associations

There are a number of different committees and associations involved with the NSW oyster industry. Know who represents your interests.
CLICK HERE: To view all Committees & Associations

Related Newsletters

Thanks to all contributors. If you have any feedback or suggestions how we can improve this publication, please let me know 
Email: Andy@oceanwatch.org.au
Phone: (02) 9660 2262
Mobile: 0488 656 366
OceanWatch Australia is the National Marine NRM, recognised and supported by the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program. 

The NSW Oyster Industry Extension Officer is funded through the NSW Aquaculture Trust and the NSW Landcare Program. The NSW Landcare Program is a collaboration of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government. 
Copyright © 2020 Oysters Australia, All rights reserved.


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