A Tasmanian oyster company has partnered with new seafood company Yumbah to provide a boost to the industry that has been devastated by Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome.
Southseas Abalone, that has a farm at Bicheno, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island in South Australia joined together with Narrawong, located near Portland in Victoria to create Yumbah Aquaculture.
After months of intensive work Yumbah’s Port Lincoln operation has produced its first crop of commercially viable oysters.
The industry was facing a crisis as it primarily used oyster spat from Tasmania.
However a ban on oyster spat from Tasmania is in place because of the outbreak of POMS.
The oysters were grown in conjunction with Cameron of Tasmania, an oyster farm at Dunalley.
Cameron of Tasmania general manager Ben Cameron said the company was looking forward to the next phase of the venture.
It is expected the next phase will help supply the South Australian oyster industry with much needed spat.
“The first oyster spat to undergo sea trials at Port Lincoln have shown excellent growth, shape and hardness characteristics as well as extremely low levels of mortality,” he said.
“The oyster spat produced at Yumbah Port Lincoln will mirror our operation in Tasmania which has consistently produced world class oyster products - ranging from high quality oyster spat to jumbo live oysters - for more than 30 years.”
Despite successfully preventing the outbreak of POMS in South Australia, the state’s oyster industry has been largely paralysed for the past 12 months due to its over reliance on receiving regular consignments of Tasmanian oyster spat from well-established hatcheries in Tasmania.
Yumbah general manager at Port Lincoln Tom Hyde said the amount of work undertaken could only be described as “extraordinary.”
“Since the establishment of the hatchery late last year, we have worked tirelessly in partnership with Cameron of Tasmania to get the operation here at Port Lincoln up and running as quickly as possible,” Mr Hyde said.
“We are extremely proud of this milestone and that it has been achieved less than 12 months after the discovery of POMS in Tasmania, and the cessation of trade between SA and Tasmania.”