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Oyster News Jun 2016

A newsletter for, and about, the NSW Oyster Industry
Spat Availability
What's New (s)
Research Spotlight
Estuary News in NSW
Committees & Associations
Diary Dates
Related Newsletters
Who's Who
Something Different


Shell Grinder
WHAT IS IT? Shell grinder

WHAT DOES IT DO? Removes overcatch

KEY ADVANTAGES: The grinder is an efficient, mechanised tool that eliminates the need for manual culling. Compared to traditional culling techniques (which can be result in RSI injuries such as tennis elbow), over a long period of time the tool is much easier on your body. 

MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Peter Johannsen at Oystek ( / 0409244434). If you have operational or performance questions please contact Ian or Rose Crisp ( / 0427394388).
Other innovation videos: Oystek Auto Winch

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 Available - June 2016
CLICK HERE: Directory of NSW Wild Caught Spat Suppliers - June 2016

Classifieds (free)

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. As this newsletter will be published every 2nd month, the cut-off from the August edition will be the 24th August 2016.
CLICK HERE: Classifieds - June 2016

What's New(s)

Since 2006, the 'tidy' provisions of the NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy (OISAS) has required that infrastructure within lease boundaries be black, dark-grey or dark grey/green in colour. This is to reduce the visual impact of oyster infrastructure & avoid navigation confusion in farming areas. Steve McOrrie (NSW DPI) has suggested a heavy duty black UV stabilized poly tube as a simple, cost effective solution to cover white 90mm PVC stormwater pipe within lease boundaries. The product has a 105mm diameter and a 0.7mm wall thickness which is resistant to rubbing. It is supplied in a lay-flat roll in 6m lengths and can be cut to required length & slipped over posts. If necessary the tube can be fixed with a self-tapping flat-head screw. 

Current stocks of the product have run-out and the manufacturer requires a minimum order to cover the cost of the run. A number of farmers have shown interest in obtaining this product but are struggling to meet the minimum ordering quantity. If you think you may have a use for this on your farm and want to take advantage of the benefits of a group-buy, please contact Andy Myers ( / 0488656366) 
In the last oyster newsletter, feedback was sought from the NSW oyster industry on potential activities for the new oyster industry extension officer to deliver in the coming year. 22 farmers provided responses to an online survey, with a summary of the feedback available here. This information has been used to develop a list of activities & events for delivery in 2016-2017. Reflecting industry feedback, activities are divided into four themes: 1) Extension Opportunities, 2) Building Industry Networks, 3) Industry Development, 4) Risk Management 
A new oyster EMS coordinator has recently joined Sapphire Coast Oysters. Jillian Keating (who has facilitated sustainability improvements for the south coast industry though both Southern Rivers CMA & South East LLS) will be commencing this job in the next month and is excited about the shift in focus and opportunity to work with industry at the grass roots level. Pambula oyster farmer, and lady of many other hats, Sue McIntyre has held this role for the past few years and has left VERY big boots to fill. Sue has done a top job supporting EMS implementation for farmers in the 6 most southern NSW estuaries and will no doubt continue to work closely with Jillian to ensure this important local industry is underpinned by industry best practice and healthy catchments  
Oysters Australia have tabled a National Industry Response Plan to POMS to the Australian Government, who have committed financial support to the selective breeding program. The program aims to breed pacific oysters with high POMS resistance
The Australian oyster industry has received a further funding boost with the announcement of a $3m grant from the Cooperative Research Centre Programme (CRC-P). The funding will be directed towards developing Better Oysters (breeding programs), Healthier Oysters (disease research) and More Oysters (hatchery support & diversification)
Wallis Lake oyster farmers invest in hidden cameras & employ security officer to monitor for oyster thefts. Oyster theft is also hitting headlines in Merimbula Lake. Oyster farmers are reminded to report all thefts through Operation Trident. There's also a NSW DPI factsheet on oyster theft prevention
Shellfish Culture announce plans to set up a new hatchery in Cowell (SA), with the facility up & running by December 2016. Listen to a radio interview with the General Manager. There are more details on the facility here
NSW south coast oyster farmers are pushing for a local hatchery, and are laying off workers as they struggle to source triploid pacific oyster spat (media article)
A new multi-species hatchery has been announced for Albany (WA), with a $2.3m Government investment. Facility is expected to be self-funded within 10 yrs
NSW DPI recevied 6 submissions to the exhibition of the proposed changes to OISAS best practice standards. The department is working through the submissions & will put the proposed changes to the NSW Shellfish Committee in July. OISAS will be republished as the 3rd Edition once the revisions are finalised. The department has now also formally adopted the diploid pacific oyster policy
The east coast low in June caused significant damage & loss of oyster infrastructure & stock. Read about the impact in the Hastings River. NSW DPI are compiling statewide information about the impact on the oyster industry. Primary producers, sole traders and employees in certain council areas who experienced a loss of income, may also be eligible to receive disaster recovery allowance
South Coast Mariculture were successful in the tender / EOI process for 3 leases in Jervis Bay (50ha in total). Operations to commence this year
A South Australan company is developing a machine which shaves oyster shells, then seals oysters with wax making them long-lasting, easier to open & brand (media article)
Ever thought about turning your waste oyster shells and old plastic bottles into comfy work shirts? Mountain Designs have ... 

Research Spotlight

WHAT: Comparing different growing techniques to achieve marketable shell shapes in fast-growing Sydney rock oysters (SRO)

WHO & FUNDING: Select Oyster Company (SOCo); University of Newcastle; Avondale College of Higher Education. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture. Special thanks to Bruce Alford & Keith Duggan for their support.

BACKGROUND: The Sydney rock oyster breeding program has made significant gains in oyster growth & disease resistance since it began in 1990. Two lines of mass selected SRO are commercially available: 5th-generation B2 and WMR lines, selected for fast growth & disease resistance. In some case these can grow up to 30% faster than non-selected SRO, reaching market in 18 months. Some farmers have noticed differences in shell shape between selected and non-selected stock, noting selected lines growing flatter than non-selected wild oysters.

In the study, 4 month old B2 oysters were deployed & grown for 9 months on farms in the Hawkesbury River & Georges River. Oysters were grown in either trays, Stanway cylinders or floating baskets to test the effects of emersion & rumbling on shell shape. We also wanted to test if shell shape could be changed mid-cycle, so after six months we moved a set of oysters from their original units to both of the other two options.

To assess shape, we used an algorithm developed by NSW DPI that applies a score based on a shell height, width, depth ratio. A ratio closest to 3:2:1 is considered the most marketable shape. We also measured meat weight & shell imperfections, recognising that these are also important market traits.

WHAT WAS FOUND: Results show that estuarine-specific factors affected oyster growth characteristics. For example, our best shaped oysters in the Georges River were those that remained in cylinders throughout, while in the Hawkesbury River, oysters moved from trays to cylinders had the best shape. Oysters that started in cylinders, then moved to trays or baskets had comparably the worst shapes in both estuaries. But despite differences between estuaries, generally, oysters that were finished in cylinders had better shapes, fewer imperfections and higher meat to overall weight than oysters that were finished in other methods. These results indicate that shape can be improved, or ‘corrected’ mid-growth cycle by moving oysters into cylinders.

However, shell shape came at a cost of shell size. Oysters that were finished in cylinders were the smallest in terms of shell height. Rumbling appeared to play a key role in shell shape and this study is the first of its kind to confirm and quantify differences in motion between trays, cylinders and baskets using HOBO Pendant® G Data Loggers. As expected, oysters in cylinders experienced significantly more movement than oysters in trays and baskets. But our results suggest that other environmental factors impact shape, therefore disentangling the interacting impacts of motion and environmental factors on shell shape is what we wish to explore next. We also want to find if there’s a critical level of motion that’s ideal for good shell shape.
HOW WILL THIS HELP THE OYSTER INDUSTRY: These results are valuable for farmers who wish to effectively utilize their dynamic lease environments to target better shaped oysters or larger oysters for example. Such experimental techniques will also prove important in future studies which apply to the emerging and imminent commercial family breeding program.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Emma Wilke / 0402677534

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. Know who represents your interests by checking out committee members here. 

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: NSW Oyster Industry Strategy Implementation Group
CLICK HERE: Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee (ARAC)
CLICK HERE: NSW Farmers Association (Oyster Committee)
... and national / interstate
CLICK HERE: Oysters Australia
CLICK HERE: Oysters Tasmania
CLICK HERE: South Australian Oyster Growers Association

Diary Dates

Related Newsletters

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

Who's Who

Name: Shane Buckley (oyster farmer Wapengo Lake)

Brief background: I began farming Sydney Rocks in 2007 following a 20 year career as an Intensive Care Paramedic with the Ambulance Service of NSW. I bought the last stick farms in Wapengo and have since converted them completely to more modern cultivation systems. After removing all treated & tarred materials for more sustainable & environmentally appropriate infrastructure, I gained Organic certification for the farm in 2012 through Australian Certified Organic. Our market is dealing directly with the restaurant trade, offering the 'Paddock to Plate' experience. I have also opened a licensed oyster bar in Bermagui called the Bermagui Oyster Room. I am very proud of winning 17 medals from 17 entries in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show over the last 5 years. It's a nice reward for all of the hard work. I believe the NSW oyster industry is in a very strong position, and is becoming more highly recognised for its environmental credentials. The establishment of the EMS program for estuaries has underpinned this.

About me: I enjoy golf & darts in my spare time and am looking forward to travelling 

Contact: / 0408866211

Something Different

Early morning fog over a lease in Coffin Bay (photo Robert Lang)
Big thanks to Ana Rubio for helping pull this together and advising on articles. If you have any feedback or suggestions on how we could improve this newsletter 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 © 2016 OceanWatch Australia, All rights reserved.

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