LOCAL hatchery SAM abalone has partnered with Cameron of Tasmania to start producing oyster spat for South Australian oyster farmers.
This oyster hatchery will operate separately to the hatchery proposal that is being considered for the Lincoln Marine Science Centre.
SAM Abalone general manager Tom Hyde said after the outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania, Cameron of Tasmania approached SAM Abalone to work together.
Following the POMS outbreak an immediate ban was introduced on the movement of live pacific oysters, oyster spat and used farming equipment originating from Tasmania into South Australia to protect the state’s oysters from contamination.
“We have great infrastructure, a good site, good staff and Cameron’s come with a very good reputation,” Mr Hyde said.
He said the brood stock had been selected and conditioned and they were expecting to do their first spawning run in the next few weeks.
Once fully operational, the new hatchery will have the capacity to produce 100 per cent of South Australia’s oyster spat requirements and will be crucial to the future viability of the industry in the state.
“We still have a lot of work to do, we are great at abalone but it’s a different species so we do need that help from Camron’s,” Mr Hyde said.
Mr Hyde said the hatchery would have access to the best genetics from Australian Seafood Industries’ (ASI) POMS resistant oyster programs.
He said in the long term the new oyster hatchery could create up to 10 new jobs in the hatchery and nursery.
“For now, we are just acutely aware of the shortage of spat and want to get good quality and good numbers of spat for growers,” Mr Hyde said.
He said the partnership was a long term one and he expected to still be producing spat 10 or 20 years “down the track”.
Cameron of Tasmania general manager Ben Cameron said the company was excited to be able to follow through on a commitment it made to growers about six years ago.
“We said if there was ever a outbreak of POMS in Tasmania that we would look after South Australian growers so it’s exciting to be able to follow through with that commitment,” he said.
Mr Cameron said they were aiming for a “diverse genetic range” of stock with access to ASI genetics but were focused on delivering the quality spat local growers were used to.
“We’re making a commitment to run an oyster hatchery in South Australia for the foreseeable future,” Mr Cameron said.