Juvenile solution to oyster water quality issues

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Source ABC Rural

Image Credit ABC Rural (Rose Grant)

“We might call ourselves pirates,” Tom Kennedy says, “but public safety and food safety is of the utmost importance to us.”

Tom Kennedy is owner of the Pirate Point Oyster Bar in Stanley and the managing director of Tasmanian Wilderness Oysters which produces juvenile oysters at Circular Head.

But at Big Bay in Tasmania’s far north west, bacteria in the water stops mature oyster harvesting for months at a time.

Tom Kennedy’s oyster leases have been closed since July 2013, but that isn’t a barrier to growing and selling millions of juvenile oysters to farmers who need to restock oyster leases in other areas.

“We’re in a massive time of growth at the moment,” he said.

“We’ve just finished the major sales season, so there’s a lot of empty [oyster] farms in Tassie at the moment.

“It is my job to fill them back up, so we have lots more oysters for next year.

“The Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program has been monitoring all the oyster growing areas, all the zones for 30-plus years.

“Over time, you can actually watch how the coliform [bacteria] spikes come with rainfall.

“So in Big Bay, if we get an inch of rain in seven days, we know we’re going to be shut.

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