Watch David’s update from 6:53mins
“I wanted to get over to people who are interested in growing flat oysters, and that’s mainly the Tasmanian and South Australian farmers that are here, that there is an opportunity to grow them, that they’re rare around the world, they’re high value oysters, and that there are some growers here who are actually growing them and have some confidence in trying them. A lot of the systems that we’ve gone through and developed – we’ve made some mistakes and you can learn from that and develop your own. They are a native animal and, because we understand how shellfish breed and can be cultured, we have a responsibility now to fix some of the wrongs that were done in the past where the species was devoid or overfished in the environment (ie we can put them back in the coastal environment).
There are several challenges that Angasi growers face. Marketing; there’s not a big acceptance within the shellfish market in Australia and that’s mainly because the market is satisfied by Pacifics and Rock oysters at the moment. That could change with POMS so there’s a strategy there for diversification to spread your risk so that you’ve got another species and you’re not just single species orientated. I also think they’re a lovely oyster. They’re a beautiful oyster to grow and relatively simple to hatchery rear and I think it’s a good strategy to look at them.
The advice I give to somebody starting out is to tread cautiously and be prudent. I’ve found the successful farmers are growing oysters to their environmental situation where they are located. We grow them differently in Narooma, South Coast NSW in a protected estuarine situation to growers in Victoria who are on a longline situation and much rougher open water, which will probably be different to SA and parts of Tas and possibly different within those regions within different bays and impoundments. So, be prudent. There is a disease that affects them; Bonamia. Through the new techniques we’ve developed we seem to be growing them around that disease. The disease still exists but we’re managing to get them through quicker. We understand how to grow them better – in a better environment.
I think you’d be very satisfied if you could bring an animal back into the environment that doesn’t exist anymore and its available to your local and regional community.”