SA spats step up for oyster industry

SA spats step up for oyster industry

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The SA oyster industry has taken a step forward in its move to be self-sustaining.

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FOUR commercial Eyre Peninsula suppliers will take on the role of supplying all juvenile oysters - spat - from the state government, in a sign of recovery for the oyster industry.

Three years ago an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome in Tas lead to a ban on the importation of Pacific Oyster spat from Tas to SA to avoid the disease spreading.

Previously more than 80 per cent of SA's juvenile oysters were sourced in Tas.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone praised the efforts of growers and PIRSA in working together to address the challenges associated with the spat supply shortage.

“This is a significant milestone for the oyster farming industry. I praise the efforts of growers and PIRSA in working together to address the challenges associated with the spat supply shortage,” he said.

“In the past three years, PIRSA’s research division SARDI has produced 106.5 million spat for the state’s Pacific Oyster aquaculture industry – 30 million, 34 million and 42.5 million in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.

“The state government has continued the work to reduce the feral oyster population and associated POMS viral load in Port River through targeted cull of oysters."

Mr Whetstone said there was still work to be done but the government was committed to supporting the state's oyster growers and the associated regional jobs.

“We look forward to continuing to build on the strong industry-SARDI research partnership with a focus on a breeding program to produce POMS resistant oysters, which will future-proof the industry," he said.

“SARDI has already produced 126 Pacific Oyster families under the Australian Seafood Industries selective breeding program and an additional 31 families are currently under development which will become the founding population of a selective breeding program.”

SA Oyster Growers Association executive officer Trudy McGowan praised PIRSA for their efforts to boost spat production in the wake of the spat shortage faced by the industry.

“This assistance has been vital in ensuring the long-term viability of the South Australian oyster farming industry,” she said.

“We are pleased to be in a position where we are confident in the strong production results we are seeing from our local hatcheries and optimistic that we are now on track to a healthy recovery.”

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