Plans to support growers

THE South Australia oyster industry is being proactive about the spat shortage facing growers following the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) outbreak in Tasmania last year and has started work on a plan to support local growers. 

South Australia Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA) chief executive, Trudy McGowan said early last month the industry came together to pre-plan and hold initial discussions. 

She said the industry knew there would be a shortage and there would be an impact to the industry but the details of the impact would not come to light for another few months. 

“The meeting was about bringing together some ideas about what we can do but we are still at the gathering stage,” Ms McGowan said. 

She said the industry was keeping growers informed on spat production, the progress of the hatchery at Cowell and growers were aware the association was trying to put together an overall picture of where the South Australian industry was at now. 

Ms McGowan said while the two existing Eyre Peninsula hatcheries had increased spat production in the wake of POMS and one new hatchery and the South Australian Research and Development Institute were now producing spat, it still was not enough. 

“When the new hatchery at Cowell opens and begins producing spat then we will be at the level we were or more than what we were getting out of Tassie,” Ms McGowan said. 

She said it took a minimum of 15 months to get an oyster to a saleable level so the industry was looking at how it could support growers through the gap. 

Ms McGowan said later this year with all the hatcheries producing, growers would have access to enough spat.

She said as the industry knew there would be a shortage in saleable oysters it was working now to make sure a plan was in place to support growers.

“We are still in the initial stage of planning but we want to work out where growers are going to be in a few months time and how we can support them through the shortage.”