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

A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry.
NSW Oysters Facebook Group
Spat Availability
Who's Who
Photo of the Month
Research Spotlight
Diary Dates
Committees & Associations
Related Newsletters


Oyster cradle

Provides a cradle on the outside of your punt, from which farmers can work

Allows farmers to work lower and closer to oyster infrastructure. By leaning on your thighs it also reduces bending of the back. The cradle allows farmers to work any tide and lease, and reduces damage to seagrass by eliminating foot and prop damage.   

Contact Jason & Jasmine Moore from JJ's Oysters on 0411099137 or email


Slat Stripper
Adjustable Platform
Oystek Auto Winch

Shell Grinder
If you use anything innovative on your farm that you would be happy to share with others in the industry, please contact Andy via email or call 0488656366. 

NSW Oysters Facebook Group

This newsletter goes out every second month. A lot can happen in between these mailouts. To keep up to date with news, grants etc. a NSW oyster industry website and facebook page have also been created.  

The Facebook group encourages farmers to engage with each other and discuss news, innovation and other topics. All members of the group can post relevant content and are encouraged to join in the discussion. 
CLICK HERE: Join the Facebook group

Spat Availability

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 please contact Emma Wilke (0402677534 / 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 /
CLICK HERE: NSW Hatchery Stock - Dec 2016
CLICK HERE: NSW Wild Caught Spat Directory


It is free to advertise items for sale, or items that you want. This could include equipment, oysters, businesses or services. Please send details to / 0488656366. Please limit your description to 100 words or less, and remember to include your contact details & location. You may also include 2 photos with your post.
CLICK HERE: Classifieds


The NSW Government has released the 3rd Edition of the NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy (2016). Click here to read. 

The new strategy is in response to the development of new floating cultivation and the availability of new materials that can be used to construct oyster infrastructure. These developments highlighted the need to clarify what constitutes a tidy oyster lease. The strategy retains all the essential elements of the previous editions with several updates and amendments to the lease marking and best practice standards. 
Good news from the Kalang River with the harvest area officially re-opening following a 3053 day closure due to a norovirus event.

Numerous government agencies, local governement, industry and outside consultants have worked collaboratively over a number of years to achieve this result. The sole industry member remaining on the Kalang River is relieved the opening has been completed in time for the Christmas selling season and hopes to bring the Kalang River back into full production.
Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) is back in southern Tasmania (Pittwater) - impacting spat and juveniles. Terrible news so early in the summer. It's encouraging however to hear the POMS resistant stock appears disease free. Read the media article here.
The NSW Shellfish Committee met on the 9th November in Port Stephens. A summary of the meeting outcomes can be read here.
The NSW Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee met on the 10th November in Port Stephens. A summary of discussions can be read here.
If you've ever wanted to showcase your oysters, why not enter them in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show? You can use the award to promote your product and the industry more broadly. Entry fee is $130 and applications have been extended until Wednesday 4th January. Click here for more details.
For the last couple of months, DPI Aquaculture, DPI Rec fishing, RMS, OceanWatch and representative oyster farmers have been working on a communication plan to reduce potential conflict issues with recreational fishers and boaters. By raising the 'care factor', it aims to target four potential problem areas:

1) theft
2) lease damage 
3) water quality
4) safety around leases

A suite of materials and resources are under development, including magazine articles, signage, social media campaigns, leaflets, website posts, and potentially some new lease stickers. Most physical resources will be produced in the New Year, but articles and radio interviews are already going out.
If anyone has any high quality images of recreational fishing or recreational boating interactions with oyster leases, that you don't mind being used as part of this campaign, can you please email them to We are after examples of both good and bad practice.
Oyster growers in France have a new weapon in their battle with thieves who steal tonnes of their produce every Christmas season: electronic beacons disguised as oysters that alert gendarmes if they are moved from the seabed.
​Flex-Sense, a start-up company at La Rochelle, has taken €1 million worth of orders since it launched its “mystery oyster” last month. The white plastic-covered transmitter is designed to attract the same seaweed and other sealife as the oysters around it. Click here to read more.
NSW DPI has produced a provisional production report for 2015-2016. Early analysis indicates a 7% value increase from 2014-2015 with increases in the number and value of oysters, despite serious setbacks to Shoalhaven / Crookhaven & Clyde industries. The provisional report can be viewed here.
Natural disaster relief & recovery grants up to $10,000 are available to the shellfish sector in reply to the June 2016 east coast storms and floods. Shellfish producers in the following LGA's are eligible: Bega, Byron, Eurobodalla, Nambucca, Shoalhaven, Tweed.

Scheme information, guidelines and application forms are available from the NSW DPI Rural Assistance Authority Website. ​Applications must be made before 8th May 2017.
Can you help with disaster relief efforts?

When there is a natural disaster, Government needs to quickly collect information so that it can put in place an appropriate response. You can help by volunteering to be your estuary 'Disaster Loss Reporting Coordinator'. It will be your role to help collect estimates of damage and loss, and report them to NSW DPI. You will be helping to ensure that available assistance is provided as quickly as possible. Please contact Steve Mcorrie at NSW DPI on (02) 4916 3921 or email
AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) has released its consultation report on the proposed cost recovery under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (the National System). Feedback received during the consultation highlighted support for a National System, but industry is not receptive to the levy proposals put forward. The consultation report can be viewed here.

Since releasing this report, AMSA have backed down on the National System, with the start date being put back to 1st July 2018. Read media here.
On Friday 18 November 2016 the NSW Farmers’ Oyster Committee held its third face to face meeting of the year in Sydney.  The meeting featured guest speakers from SOCo, OceanWatch, DPI, Fish Habitat Partnership and Robinson Sewell Partners. 

Some of the main issues discussed by the Committee included oyster theft, biosecurity, the AMSA Review, licenses and leases, IPART and local government rating, and Fish Habitat. 
The Oyster Committee discussed several biosecurity issues which were of particular concern to the industry, particularly in light of Christmas holidays approaching. The Oyster Committee will be working with the recreational fishers associations and local councils etc., to improve the biosecurity management practices across all boats moving in and out of different estuaries.
The Committee made submissions earlier this year to IPART and AMSA. We believe that IPART will imminently present its final report to Government, at which point NSW Farmers will be meeting with the Minister to further discuss the implications of IPART’s final recommendations. The date for the implementation of AMSA’s National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety system has been extended for twelve months, until 1 July 2018. We will write to AMSA again advising that in the view of NSW Farmers’ it is not appropriate for oyster boats/punts in NSW to be considered commercial vessel for the purposes of the Act.

The Committee also discussed with SOCo at length the changes that have recently been made in relation to the new and improved selective breeding program, which the Committee considered to be very positive. 
The oyster committee and NSW Farmers we welcome feedback. Please email the committee at
The Sydney rock oyster breeding program is transitioning from mass selection to a multi-trait family breeding program guided by geneticists at CSIRO. 

What does this mean? Mass selection is a process whereby one or two populations of oysters are selected for one or two traits at each generation. In the case of SRO, at each generation fast growing animals, and survivors from QX disease and WM disease are selected from large populations of and induced to spawn. Their progeny form the next mass selected population, and the process repeats whereby survivors and fast growers within the next generation are selected for spawning. This technique has made substantial gains in growth and disease resistance over the past 20 years.

Family breeding, by contrast, uses genetic tools to trace pedigree information of several separately managed families, thereby accelerating gains where multiple families are produced in every year class as opposed to one mass selected batch at every generation.  Families are deployed in four estuaries in NSW for performance trials. A fifth estuary will be added to the program in 2017  to increase the likelihood of exposure to winter mortality and to determine the heritability for this disease as part of a project funded by the  Future Oysters CRC-P program.
Genetic gain in key traits is quantified using an Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) and therefore we can accelerate gains by selecting families with the best EBVs. Family breeding is also used in salmon, cattle, wheat, merino sheep, and the poultry industries to name a few while managing inbreeding. Here are two photos of four Sydney Rock Oyster families from Year Class 2015. They are both 12 months old, spawned at DPI Port Stephens Fisheries Institute bivalve hatchery, grown on the same lease, in 6 mm SEAPA baskets. The only difference is their genetics.

Breeding and evaluation of families is done by NSW DPI while SOCo and NSW DPI manage the family data which is stored in a database developed by CSIRO. This genetic program is funded by funding from FRDC and Oysters Australia IPA.  
In other SOCo news - an intership position with SOCo in broodstock management is starting in early 2017. Click here to view the position description, and please pass onto anyone you think would be keen to learn about the family breeding program, assist in data collection, travel the coast, start their aquaculture career path, and meet a lot of friendly oyster farmers. 

The company also has a new and improved website. It includes information about the family breeding program, latest publications and R&D, hatchery & nursery contacts, SOCo partners, Board information and much more. Click out the new site here. 
There's a new newsletter being put out in Tasmania providing regular updates to industry on what's happening with POMS on Tasmanian oyster farms over the summer of 2016-17. 
SOUTH COAST NSW OYSTER FARMERS - A series of travelling workshops are being developed for south coast farmers. These workshops will be held in four locations (likely Shoalhaven, Clyde, Wapengo, Pambula) and are aimed at building the capacity & knowledge of growers by offering presentations / opportunities for discussion on topics that are priorities for the industry. This is being organised by EMS implementation officers Jillian Keating (Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters) & Andy Myers (OceanWatch). If you have any thoughts on topics of interest and potential speakers - please let either Jilliian ( or Andy ( know. 
Applications are open for the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program. Closing date for applications 13th January 2017

The Program is designed for people wishing to take up leadership roles within the seafood industry. These roles maybe at a sector level or regional level but participants may also have national and international leadership aspirations. The focus, however, of the program is for participants to develop an understanding of how to impact constructively, resulting in positive outcomes for the seafood industry nationally. It is a 6 month program with 3 residential blocks - in 2017 placements are in Darwin, Sydney and Canberra. More details can be found here. 

A number of people involved with the NSW oyster industry have done the course in the past including Ewan McAsh, Andy Myers and Emma Wilkie - seen below with Minister Joyce (Deputy PM, & Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources). Feel free to ask any one of us about it if you want to know more about the program. 
It appears that the Australian seafood industry will have a new national peak body - Seafood Industry Australia (SIA). 

A team working on the initiative taregted $500k in pledging membership, and in November 2016 they broke through this figure. Whilst they will continue to work to secure support, the milestone means that SIA will definitely be moving forward. 

Video: Why do we need a national peak body?
Video: What has happened up until this point?
Video: What will SIA do?
Reflecting on 40 years in the Australian Aquaculture sector, outgoing Chair of the National Aquaculture Council, Pheroze Jungalwalla, has recently highlighted the top-5 issues he belives needs to be addressed to ensure the continued success of Australian Aquaculture. Read the article here.
The NSW Food Authority has developed a website to help industry find information essential to food labelling compliance. The website can be accessed here.
In November 2016, the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Advisory Committee (ASQAAC) met in Sydney for a day of science presentations. If interested in the science, you can check out the presentations via the SafeFish website here.

Who's Who

NAME: Ian Lyall (Aquaculture NSW DPI)

BRIEF BACKGROUND: Raised on Clyde & Hawkesbury River oysters. Began working in aquaculture in 1985 on prawn farms and then fish farms. Keen to support industry development in NSW. Current focus to develop the NSW Marine Waters Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy after recent successes to attract investment to sea pen aquaculture off Port Stephens and shellfish leases in Jervis Bay. Qualifications Marine Biology & Zoology (James Cook Uni.)

ABOUT ME: Living in Port Stephens and enjoy most watersports and seafood. 

CONTACT: or (02) 4916 3856


Photo of the Month

Shells are ringing out for Christmas Day (link to Pogues Christmas Anthem)
(photo: Rob Redmayne - Seven Seas Oysters, Port Stephens)

Research Spotlight

WHAT: 'ALGALERT' - A decision support tool to manage Harmful Algal Blooms in NSW

Diary Dates

Committees & Associations

There are a number of different committees and associations involved with the NSW oyster industry. Know who represents your interests. 

Related Newsletters

Facebook - NSW Oysters
NSW Oysters Website
Big thanks to Ana Rubio for helping pull this together and advising on articles. If you have any feedback, please let us know 
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 Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative is funded by the NSW Government, and is supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW. 
Copyright © 2017 OceanWatch Australia, All rights reserved.

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