Oyster spats
11 September 2019
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3 minutes

Hope restored to Hawkesbury Oyster Farmers

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Hawkesbury River oyster farmers whose businesses and livelihoods were crippled from Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) that wiped out their oyster stock, have been given a new wave of hope.

The Federal Government has funded POMS-resistant oysters spats that have been brought to the Hawkesbury and are expected to revitalise the oyster industry on the Hawkesbury.

“Our oyster farmers on the Hawkesbury have been producing oysters for generations. POMS has delivered a devastating blow to their livelihoods,” said Julian Leeser MP.

“Having the spats arrive is an exciting development in the journey to get these farmers back on their feet.”

POMS was first diagnosed in the Hawkesbury River in 2013. POMS is harmless for humans, but its effects were devastating for Hawkesbury River farmers.

When the water temperature reaches a certain level, POMS can wipe out an entire crop in a matter of days. The 2013, POMS wiped out in a 98% loss of oyster stock, with losses amounting to more than $3 million.

The POMS-resistant Triploid Pacific Oysters, have been developed in partnership with Cameron’s Oyster hatchery in Tasmania. The Morrison Government has invested $70,000 in the breeding of POMS resistant oysters which are being trialled for use in the wild for the first time in the Hawkesbury.

The baby oysters, ‘spats’, arrived recently and take nine months to grow to full size. The oysters will be ready for eating by April 2020.