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A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry 
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Oyster News December 2019

A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry 
Christmas Message & New Role 
Classifieds
Spat Availability & Hatchery Updates
Employment
Tide To Tip
News
Photo of the Month
Committees & Associations
Related Newsletters
Christmas Message & New Role

I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very safe, productive and happy christmas. From my perspectivce it's been an incredibly busy & rewarding year. Some of the stand-outs include: 
  • 2019 Oyster Conference in August which attracted over 310 people to Wallis Lake talking everything oysters
  • Development of 'Tide to Tip' - the oyster industry waterway clean-up initiative, which now has committment from 24 oyster producing regions
  • Launch of the NSW Seafood Innovation Fund - enabling farmers to apply for $500k through low-interest loans 
  • The ground-breaking arrival of the Flip Farm
  • Announcement of the new hatchery and operator in Moruya, on the south coast of NSW
  • The value of NSW oyster sales rising 7% to $58.5m
  • Commencement of a NSW Oyster Reform Project, reviewing the permitting system, leases & bonds

Of course there is always more work to be done, and ongoing challenges - especially in regions continuing to battle with the impact of disease. Hopefully 2020 brings growth and prosperity to everyone involved in our wonderful industry. There's room for everyone in the market, and Australia continues to be a net importer of oysters. 

For me, 2020 brings a fresh challenge. I've recently taken on the role of Executive Officer at Oyster Australia, which I will be delivering in addition to my extension work with the NSW oyster industry. One of my main priorities for the first half of 2020 is the development of a new national Research & Development Strategy, but more on this in the New Year. 

Rest assured, my extension work in NSW will continue, however some discrete projects will be delegated to other OceanWatch project staff. As always, if you have any questions, or want to have a chat, please contact me on 0488656366 or email Andy@oceanwatch.org.au

Anyway, I hope that everyone has a great festive season, and I look forward to catching up in 2020.

Photo from Robert Redmayne (Seven Seas Oysters)

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

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. For information on the breeding program, please contact the Select Oyster Company on selectoysterco@gmail.com. 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 - December 2019
CLICK HERE: Directory of NSW Wild Caught Spat Suppliers
 NSW DPI - Update by Michael Dove

NSW DPI has just completed the breeding run to produce the 2019 year class.  Sixty families were produced in order to continue the push toward the industry breeding goal which is for selected stock to demonstrate:
  • 70% survival through a QX disease outbreak,
  • 30% growth advantage compared to wild oysters, and
  • no difference in condition compared to wild oysters.  
The commercial release of oysters with 70% QX disease resistance is expected in March 2020, 30% growth advantage over wild oysters is in March 2021 and oysters with no change in condition is in March 2024.  
Select Oyster Company (SOCo) - Update by Matt Wassnig

DPI have successfully bred 60 new families for Year Class 19 of the family based breeding program. Stock from elite families will be transferred to SOCo, to be on-grown and made available as brood-stock for commercial hatchery runs.
 
SOCo have been working with hatcheries this season to supply current brood-stock from the best performing families in terms of QX resistance, growth rate and conditioning. We encourage growers to use the directory in this newsletter to make contact with nurseries or hatcheries and inquire about upcoming spat availability. 
 
A recent workshop was held at the Sydney Fish Market to begin mapping Roles & Responsibilities for managing the breeding program and its commercialisation going forward. It was a productive session attended by DPI, SOCo, NSW Farmers, the Oyster Committee and the Oyster Industry Extension Officer.  SOCo look forward to providing feedback on its capacity to assist with tasks that ensure advantages of the breeding program are felt by the wider industry in years ahead. 

Employment

At the request of industry, I have started listing employment opportunities - as a new section in this newsletter, and also on the NSW oysters website (www.nswoysters.com.au/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

Tide to Tip

Tide to Tip, to be held the week of the 17th of February 2020, is a series of Australian oyster industry led clean-up events through which farmers can lead and participate in clean-ups within and surrounding Australian waterways. 

Whilst many oyster farmers already participate in estuary clean-ups throughout the year, ‘Tide to Tip’ provides an opportunity to scale up the effort by combining industry effort across NSW and Interstate to collectively improve our nations waterways. 

Currently we have expressions of interest from oyster farmers across 18 estuaries in NSW, and 6 producing regions interstate. We will follow up with other farmers in the New Year, but to date we have provisional details of 11 of the clean-ups in NSW:

 
  • Port Stephens: Friday 21st February
  • Hawkesbury River: Friday 21st February
  • Shoalhaven River: Friday 21st February
  • Clyde River: Friday 21st February
  • Tuross Lake: Wednesday 19th February
  • Wagonga Inlet: Friday 21st February
  • Wapengo Lagoon: Friday 21st February
  • Nelsons Lagoon: Monday 17th February
  • Merimbula Lake: Thursday 20th February
  • Pambula Lake: Thursday 20th February
  • Wonboyn Lake: Monday 17th February

If you want to get involved, please email siobhan@oceanwatch.org.au. OceanWatch can assist with the organisation of waste collection & disposal, provide rubbish bags, gloves etc.

The model for a clean-up is easy to replicate, and local growers can decide if they want to run this as an industry only event, or partner with the local community or other local groups. The more growing regions we can get on board the better – it becomes a much better story, and one that demonstrates the value that the oyster industry places on a healthy environment.

More details are available at www.nswoysters.com.au/clean-ups.  

News

NSW DPI Aquaculture Provisional Production Report released

The NSW DPI Aquaculture Provisional Production Report has recently been released.
Compared to the 2017/2018 report, the number show a fall in Pacific & Angasi production, but an increase of ~200,000 dozen in SRO. There was also an increase in oyster spat sales. Overall, the reported value of oysters sales this year has risen by ~7% to ~$58.5m.

The report also gives a breakdown of production by estuary & grade and average farm-gate prices. You can read the full report here.
Hawkesbury River oyster farmers hopeful of recovery

The Brisbane Times recently featured an article focused on the Pacific oyster breeding program and the hopes of Hawkesbury River oyster farmers to rebound following POMS. 

After an outbreak of the virus in the Hawkesbury & George's River in NSW in 2013 and in Tasmania in 2016, Australian Seafood Industries (ASI) have been breeding an oyster with resistance to POMS. The company is now conducting breeding trials with 10 growers on the Hawkesbury and Georges rivers. Read the full article here.
NSW Department of Lands (Crown Lands) Fact-Sheet

Four fact-sheets have been prepared as information for oyster farmers in NSW. These fact-sheets cover. 
Approved NSW Sampling Accreditation - Online Training Course

Persons who undertake sampling for local shellfish programs are required to be accredited as approved samplers under the NSW Shellfish Program. To date this has been achieved through a face-to-face training course and written examination. This method of training consumes significant time and is costly for both the trainer and course participant, particularly as reaccreditation of approved samplers is now required at least every two years.

To address this issue, the NSW Food Authority has worked with the University of Tasmania to develop an online sampler training course as a means of delivering the training more efficiently. It also allows samplers to complete the course at a time that suits them. The fee for the online course is $50 for initial accreditation and $25 for re-accreditation (GST inclusive).

To ensure that the program maintains best practice, reaccreditation for approved samplers will be required every two years. Existing accreditations will remain current until 1 September 2020, after which it is expected that existing samplers will complete the online course and switch over to the new accreditation system. Click here for more details.
NSW Shellfish Committee - Summary of Meeting Outcomes 

Topics discussed at the latest NSW Shellfish Committee, held in Sydney on 6 November, included:
  • Approved Online Sampler Course (more details above)
  • Oyster Industry History Project 
  • Good Neighbourly Interactions 
Recycled oyster shell to be used in Port Stephens oyster reef restoration project

Port Stephens has been chosen as the location of the first large scale oyster reef restoration project in NSW. Construction crews will place more than 3,000 tonnes of rock and more than 150 cubic metres of recycled oyster shell onto two reef restoration sites in Port Stephens (mouths of Karuah & Myall Rivers) from late December until early March. 

The oyster shell to be used for the Port Stephens project has been collected from the local oyster farms and will be used to provide a base for oyster settlement on the new reefs. The new Port Stephens oyster reefs will be showcased at the International Conference on Shellfish Restoration in Nelson Bay in March 2020. Read more here.
TAFE NSW looking for work placements for Aquaculture students

TAFE NSW is looking for work placements for enrolled aquaculture students. Students are all mature age and have a variety of backgrounds. If students travel somewhere to do work placement they usually do so a week at a time and have to do some of their practical assessments while on placement. This may involve photos and / or video of them doing specific tasks and supervisor sign offs.This is a good opportunity to check potential workers prior to employment.  

If anyone is interested, please contact Lisa Terry for more information lisa.terry@tafensw.edu.au or phone (02) 66444711 / 0428817431
NSW Young Farmer Business Program Conference - 2 free tickets!

The inaugural NSW Young Farmer Business Program Conference will be held in Dubbo on Friday 7th February 2020.

The aim of the conference is to help develop the skills and networks of young farmers and those aspiring to own farm businesses, and is expected to attract around 200 young farmers and fishers (or those aspiring to be) aged between 18 and 35 from across NSW.
 
The program features some excellent speakers including Mark Bouris (highly regarded business expert) and Stirling Mortlock (former Wallaby captain and wealth advisor) as well as a range of experts and farmers and business people sharing their stories of success. You can check out the full program here

If you are interested in attending, and fit the target demographic, please let me know on Andy@oceanwatch.org.au or phone 0488656366. I have two free registration tickets which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Call for parties interested in US Market access for bivalve shellfish

Following industry interest in exporting to the US in 2016, Oysters Tasmania and SafeFish (www.SafeFish.com.au) won a grant from the Department of Agriculture to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the US and Australian export shellfish quality assurance programs, finishing with a gap analysis to identify differences that would need to be addressed prior to making an application for equivalence to the US. 

Gaps identified included administrative issues, vibrio control, frequency of sanitary survey re-write, surveillance of illegal harvesting, frequency of depuration inspections, and training of personnel in US requirements. Several differences between the Australian domestic and export program were also noted and would need to be considered. 
We would like to understand if the desire to export shellfish to the US still exists in the Australian bivalve industries. If so, SafeFish will consider applying for a further grant from Department of Agriculture to address the gaps identified, allowing an equivalency argument to be progressed by the Department.

If you are interested in export to the US in the near future, please email the SafeFish Program Manager: Alison.turnbull@sa.gov.au
 Grants & Opportunities

NSW Seafood Innovation Fund
Oyster farmers can access low-interest loans of up to $500,000 to invest in modern technology, equipment and systems to improve the productivity and profitability of their business. 

The Seafood Innovation Fund is available to meet the cost of carrying out permanent capital works. that will;
  • improve assets and infrastructure,
  • identify and address risks,
  • help build resilience to changes in seasonal conditions, and
  • ensure long term productivity and sustainable use of the marine and land-based environment.
Click here to apply, and to find out more about the Seafood Innovation Fund.
 

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program
Applications are open for the 2020 intake of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program.

NSILP is the only national seafood industry specific leadership program, and is designed for people wishing to take up leadership roles within the seafood industry. The focus of the program is for participants to develop an understanding of how to impact constructively, resulting in positive outcomes for the seafood industry. Graduates have gone on to apply their skills to a wide range of areas including regional network development, regional and state industry association boards, and reference committees and effective business management. 

Click here for more information

 

"Contextualise shellfish safety in Northern Australia" - EOI for project delivery
The FRDC are calling for Expressions of Interest to deliver a project to "Contextualise shellfish safety in Northern Australia". Applications are due 16th February 2020

Click here for more information
Oysters Tasmania - Market report

Through their newsletter - 'The Filter' - Oysters Tasmania publish a quarterly market report for SA & Tasmania. The spring report is shown below, and you can subscribe here to receive their newsletter directly.  
Japanese company selling plush oyster meat cushions

Enough said really. You can pick one up online here for about $40, and read the related news article here.
French oyster farmers deploy spy oysters to combat thieves

In France, 20 tonnes of oysters have been stolen in the first 9 months of the year. GPS tracked, spy oysters have beeb deployed to alert farmers of dramatic shifts in temperature & movement. Read the news article here.
'Our Pledge': Australia's seafood industry launches social licence campaign

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the wild-catch, aquaculture and post-harvest sectors of the Australian seafood industry, has recently launched “Our Pledge”.

’Our Pledge’ is the seafood industry's commitment to the community, and to each other, that we will do the right thing to ensure a vibrant future for our sector, and keep putting the best Australian seafood on the table now and for generations to come.

Over the next few months SIA will promote ‘Our Pledge’ to industry and encourage sign-up. They are also actively working on developing KPI's and industry stories that will underpin and demonstrate each pledge statement. SIA are committed to ensuring ‘Our Pledge’ is more than just words and that every one of our statements can be backed up with facts and figures. 

Find out more about 'Our Pledge' here 
You can also sign 'Our Pledge' here.
Watch 'Our Pledge' video
Sea Survival & Safety

I've been asked to share this information on sea survival & safety. I don't think too much of it applies to oyster farming in Australia, but considering the topic, I decided to post it regardless and you can make you own mind up... 

Video below, plus some documents from the UK. Remember Australian requirements & legislation may differ significanty:

Photo of the Month

Beautiful Wapengo Lake & Mumbulla mountain, complete with flying mullet submarine. I stop to take this photo every time I visit the sheds at Wapengo. One of my photos @Andy.Myers79

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

Facebook - NSW Oysters
NSW Oysters Website
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 partnership between Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by NSW Government. 
Copyright © 2019 Oysters Australia, All rights reserved.


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