26 September 2023

Tropical oyster comes out of its shell

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Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPRID) have successfully bred a Black Lip Rock Oyster, a tropical species with great potential to grow the industry.

In November last year, DPIRD received $570,000 as part of a Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia project to develop the industry in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The research aims to develop standard guidelines for the shellfish industry and potential investors on the most suitable tropical rock oyster species to grow in northern Australia, and the best techniques to farm them.

Minister for Fisheries, Peter Tinley said it was estimated that when the fishery was up and running, every 1,000 tonnes of oysters produced would create 250 jobs.

“The Black Lip Rock Oysters will continue to be grown in the hatchery until it is relocated to one of the northern research trial sites off the Karratha and Derby coastlines in September,” Mr Tinley said.

“The oyster is a fast grower and expected to perform well in northern tropical conditions, making it a good economic option for farmers to consider and potentially attracting investment to expand the industry.”

He said the State’s aquaculture industries contributed $21 million annually to the Western Australian economy.

“The successful breeding of the Black Lip Rock Oyster is an exciting first step in the production process to kick-start the tropical rock oyster industry in WA,” Mr Tinley said.

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