Department of Agriculture and Fisheries scientists have laid the bed for an expansion of Queensland’s oyster industry.
Working at the Bribie Island Research Centre, a team has successfully produced and settled 500,000 blacklip rock oysters at the centre’s oyster hatchery.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, Mark Furner said blacklip rock oysters were notoriously difficult to successfully settle in a hatchery, so the achievement had the potential to develop extensive farming of native tropical oyster species.
“This is a game-changer for Queensland’s oyster farming industry, allowing the industry to expand beyond the current South-East corner of the State through the production of blacklip oysters and other sub-tropical and tropical oyster species,” Mr Furner said.
“Currently, all but one of Queensland’s oyster farmers rely on production of the famous Sydney rock oyster, which can be farmed in just 15 per cent of Queensland’s coastline,” he said.
Mr Furner said significant economic and social benefits from an expanded oyster industry would be directed towards Queensland’s regional coastal communities.
“Farming blacklips and other tropical rock oysters in Queensland has an estimated production value of $72.6 million, potentially more than double the value of the barramundi industry,” he said.
“Oyster farming offers Indigenous communities the opportunity to establish a viable and culturally suitable aquaculture business that has minimal impact on the environment.”
The Minister said locally-produced oysters could also readily integrate into existing markets, retail outlets and supply chains.
“Most importantly, consumers will have greater access to fresh, delicious oysters,” Mr Furner said.