New tropical rock oysters could soon be on the menu in Western Australia thanks to a research project to develop the industry across northern Australia.
The McGowan Government has welcomed today’s announcement by the Co-operative Research Centre for Developing Northern Agriculture of a three-year project spanning across northern WA and the Northern Territory for tropical rock oyster research.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has received $570,000 to lead the project in WA.
The research aims to provide industry 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.
Trial sites in WA are located off the Karratha and Derby coastlines, and work has started to prepare the sites for the collection of spat and broodstock to breed at the Albany Shellfish Hatchery.
The department will work closely with key partners Maxima Pearling Company, the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and the Pilbara and Kimberley Development Commissions as part of the project.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
“We have seen a resurgence in interest in Western Australia’s aquaculture industry in response to the McGowan Government’s significant investment in aquaculture.
“Since March 2017, we have opened a new hatchery in Albany, secured Huon Aquaculture to invest in the Mid-West, invested in a $1 million fish health lab and committed $7 million for a state-of-the-art marine finfish nursery in Geraldton.
“There is a lot of interest in tropical rock oysters and this project is a fantastic opportunity to get a better understanding of what species we have in WA and which ones will grow the best in northern waters.
“The project is essentially providing the opportunity to farm new species in new places and see what the results are.
“I look forward to seeing new WA tropical rock oysters on the menu as a result of the research.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan
“The State Government is committed to boosting primary industries research and new industry development across northern Western Australia.
“This research project is a great example of driving diversification and development in the north.
“Attracting new investment is not only great for the industry, but strongly supports the State’s economy and creates new jobs opportunities in regional WA.”