A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry
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Oyster News Apr 2016

A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry

Added Industry Support

As highlighted in the 2015 NSW Oyster Industry Strategy, the industry has long needed a dedicated facilitator/extension officer to strengthen communications, identify learning needs and help deliver programs to support oyster farmers across the state. 

OceanWatch Australia has recently secured funding through the Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative to host an oyster industry extension officer until July 2019. Working part-time, the officer has the broad objective to:
  • improve communications & networks; 
  • increase the resilience of the NSW oyster industry; and
  • increase the capacity of farmers for natural resource management
There are no predefined activities, and it's important that all involved in the industry have an opportunity to have a say in what gets delivered. Some farmers have already been in touch, and we invite all NSW oyster industry stakeholders to let us know your thoughts via a short survey (please click on the button below).  
CLICK HERE: NSW Oyster Industry - Extension Survey
One strategy to help improve communications is through this industry newsletter, which we will publish every 2nd month. If you have any feedback or suggestions on how this publication could be improved, or any suggested content for inclusion, please contact Andy Myers via email or phone (02 9660 2262 / 0488 656 366)
Brief background: Worked with farmers throughout NSW to develop & implement Environmental Management Systems. Managed 160 projects to deliver improvements in oyster producing estuaries & their catchments. Qualifications in marine science, coastal management & environmental auditing.
About me: Born in UK & moved to Australia in 2001. Play soccer for my local club, and enjoy rock climbing & surfing. Have a young family at home, and another baby on the way in June.  
Phone: 02 9660 2262 / 0488 656 366


WHAT IS IT? Oystek Auto Winch

WHAT DOES IT DO? Using a lazyline or backbone rope, the winch gently moves your punt down a line (see video below). The winch can operate at variable speeds. 

KEY ADVANTAGES No need to battle wind and tidal currents to move along a line. Saves considerable time and labour, as farmers can concentrate on collecting / deploying gear, with the winch taking care of boat movement ie. improved efficiency. Opens up possibilities to efficiently farm deep water leases & sub-tidal long-lines

MORE INFORMATION Please contact Oystek (Peter Johannsen) via email or 0409244434. If you have operational questions please contact Ian Crisp via email or 0427394388.
Oystek Auto Winch

Spat Availability

This section provides a link to the latest information out of SOCo hatcheries. For more information please contact Emma Wilke on 0402677534 or via email.
CLICK HERE: Hatchery Stock Available - April 2016
If farmers have wild caught seed available for sale, you are welcome to advertise these in the Classifieds section at the end of this newsletter.

Research Spotlight

WHAT & WHO? Investigating the relationship between heavy metals in oysters, and the resuspension of contaminated sediments (PhD graduate at the University of Sydney Jung-Ho (John) Lee)

BACKGROUND: The sediments in Sydney Harbour are significantly impacted by a range of contaminants such as heavy metals (particularly Copper, Lead and Zinc). Highly enriched concentrations have also been detected in the tissues of Sydney rock oyster in the harbour. It was hypothesised that when these contaminated sediments were resuspended in to the water column by winds, waves, burrowing organisms, boats etc., they would then be ingested by the oysters and as a result may help explain the high levels of metals in oyster tissues.

WHAT WAS FOUND? John was only able to link the levels of contaminants in sediment with farmed oysters that were deployed in Sydney Harbour but not with the local wild oysters. This mismatch between wild vs farmed oysters was perplexing and indicated that wild oysters were unsuitable to be used as a bio-monitoring species while farmed oysters possessed good potential. John also tried to mimic field conditions in laboratory experiments but still failing to determine such correlation. Further experimental work was conducted at ANSTO using the gamma-emitting 65Zn radioisotope to follow the dissolved and dietary metal uptake pathways. This led to the attainment of new and highly useful rates of metal uptake and loss for the first time in Sydney rock oysters. Overall, the data indicated two likely scenarios to explain the poor link between metals in sediments to oysters. Firstly, sediment particles filtered by oysters may be considered unpalatable and so they are rejected as pseudofaeces at the mouth rather than being fully ingested. Secondly, if sediment particles are being ingested (as seen in the experiments at ANSTO), only a small fraction of the metals are absorbed, with most of the metals remaining stuck in the sediments and excreted in the faeces. Further research is required to understand if plankton is an important pathway for heavy metals into the oysters as plankton can also concentrate high amount of metals and they are a primary food source for oysters more than sediments.

HOW WILL THIS HELP THE OYSTER INDUSTRY? This research highlighted that farmed oysters seem to have different physiological responses to metal exposure to wild oysters, with wild oysters displaying impaired metal uptake regulation likely due to chronic metal exposure spanning several generations. This could explain why the two types of oysters tend to perform differently within the same estuary.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Jung-Ho (John) Lee on email

Estuary News In NSW

In the near future we will include estuary updates in the newsletter, so that farmers can keep up-to-speed on what's happening throughout the state.
South Coast (Wonboyn Lake - Shoalhaven River)
Greater Sydney & Hunter (Georges River - Manning River)
North Coast (Camden Haven - Tweed River)

Committees & Associations

There are a number of different committees and associations involved with the NSW Oyster Industry, all with a different role to play. Information about these different bodies, their priorities, meeting dates and minutes can be found by following the links below.  
CLICK HERE: NSW Shellfish Committee
CLICK HERE: Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee (ARAC)
CLICK HERE: NSW Oyster Industry Strategy Implementation Committee
CLICK HERE: NSW Farmers Associations (Oyster Committee)
CLICK HERE: Oysters Australia
... and interstate
CLICK HERE: Oysters Tasmania
CLICK HERE: South Australian Oyster Growers Association

Sustainable Oyster Assessment Program

In this project, 3 types of oysters (Sydney rock oysters (wild & hatchery) and triploid Pacific oysters) were monitored using an innovative approach by South East Local Land Services, and oyster researchers in direct partnership with south coast oyster farmers. Automated oyster graders (already in use by the industry & tested as potential monitoring tools) were used to quantify oyster performance in terms of growth, mortality and condition at a total of 28 different locations within 7 NSW South Coast estuaries between May 2014 & November 2015. Oysters used in the monitoring program belonged to specific cohorts that shared the same origin and husbandry. These oysters were then split among the 28 different growing areas and were graded and measured every 6-8 weeks. This final report collates the information collected gathered and compares oyster performance at locations within estuaries, among estuaries and between oyster groups.

For more information please contact Ana Rubio (email) or Sophie Hall-Aspland (email). 

Diary Dates

What's New(s)

Related Newsletters

Please let me know via email if you know of a relevant newsletter that you want added to this list. 

Who's Who

Name: Anthony Zammit (Manager Shellfish Program)
Brief background: As part of the NSW Shellfish Program, I have worked with the oyster industry for 16 years. When I started, all NSW oysters had to be depurated, now 50% of harvest areas are direct harvest. I look forward to working with industry to achieve the goals set in the NSW Oyster Industry Strategy. Qualifications in aquaculture, environmental science & environmental law.
About me: Born & raised in Sydney. Moved to Tassie for 3 yrs to study aquaculture. In my spare time I enjoy fishing & free driving.
(02) 9741 4848

Classifieds (free)

This classifieds section will allow businesses to advertise if they have equipment or oysters for sale (wild-caught spat & larger sizes). Please send through details via email. Please limit your description to 100 words or less. As this newsletter will be published every 2nd month, the cut-off from the June edition will be the 24th June 2016.
CLICK HERE: Classifieds - April 2016

Something Different

Sweet revenge
OceanWatch Australia is the National Marine NRM, recognised and supported by the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program. 

The Local Land Coordinator Initiative is funded by the NSW Government, and is supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW. 
Copyright © 2016 OceanWatch Australia, All rights reserved.

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