Merimbula to host state oyster conference

Supply pressure and bio-security will be discussed at the NSW Oyster Conference.

Supply pressure and bio-security will be discussed at the NSW Oyster Conference.

Oyster farmers from all over NSW are expected to converge on Merimbula in August for the biennial NSW Oyster Conference to be held at the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club.

It is the first time that the town has hosted the entire state conference and about 150 oyster farmers and associated company representatives are expected to attend along with 20 trade suppliers who will have stands at the conference.

The conference run by Oceanwatch, Australia’s marine natural resource management organisation, will provide a chance for networking and workshops will cover a number of topics including oyster health, environmental matters, use of technology and the future for the industry.

Not surprisingly, given the Tasmanian outbreak of POMS (Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome) that has devastated the industry in Tasmania and affected South Australian growers who took spats from hatcheries there, bio-security will be a big topic.

NSW farmers mainly grow Sydney Rock Oysters and already the pressure is on from suppliers to ensure continuity of oyster supply, Caroline Henry who is on the NSW Farmers Oyster Committee and also one of the organisers of the conference said.

“Suppliers are already putting in forward orders to ensure supply at key times such as Christmas, New Year and major holidays.

“A lot of farmers have caught extra spat (baby oysters) after the first outbreak in Tasmania, in December 2015. They are also putting less oysters in a bag to optimise growth,” Ms Henry said.

“The South Coast is doing really well with the industry and we would urge all farmers to come along to the conference.”

The event runs August 22-24 and includes an oyster ball at Oaklands Event Centre.

Ms Henry said Merimbula was chosen for the conference because it has an airport, has estuaries close by for field trips and the Bundian Way which will be a story trail tour for conference attendees.