Sustainable future for oyster farming

THE key strategy to guide the future growth of the strong local oyster industry, has been updated and released for public exhibition, to ensure the industry continues to thrive and be productive and sustainable.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Manager Aquaculture, Ian Lyall, said the NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy (OISAS) is a key management and policy document for the NSW oyster industry.

"This strategy is part of the NSW Government's commitment to supporting aquaculture which generates jobs, drives economic growth in coastal communities and helps meet the demands for quality, sustainable seafood," Mr Lyall said.

"The NSW oyster industry is an integral part of the fabric of coastal communities and is a 'watch dog' for estuarine water quality.

"DPI has updated the strategy since the first edition was implemented in 2006, working closely with oyster growers so the strategy is a government industry partnership and looks to the long term future of the industry.

"The industry has changed since 2006 with the adoption of new technology; an increased use of hatchery stock; the widespread take up of Environmental Management Systems; new marketing initiatives and classification of harvest areas for export certification.

"The vision for a healthy and sustainable NSW oyster industry remains and we are confident that increases in production from new species, new investment and innovative culture technology will help us overcome recent production losses due to floods and disease events."

Mr Lyall said oyster farming is the most valuable aquaculture industry in NSW and the state has been producing oysters for more than 100 years, with a current annual production worth over $35 million.

"Commercial production of oysters occurs in 31 estuaries between Tweed River and Wonboyn Lake, with the main producing areas being Wallis Lake, Port Stephens and the Clyde River," he said.

The existing strategy includes:

  • Best practice oyster industry guidelines;
  • A code of conduct and good neighbour policy;
  • Identification of areas where oyster farming is conducted or reserved for future production;
  • A simplified approvals process for investors; and
  • Water quality protection and improvement measures.

The Draft 2013 OISAS and the estuary maps are on exhibition until 5 November 2013 at

State Environmental Planning Policy 62 on Sustainable Aquaculture, which sets out planning rules for aquaculture, will need to undergo a minor administrative amendment to make it consistent with the strategy.

Click here to see the exhibited amendment.

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