The CEO of the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation said a recent tour of rock oyster farms in South Australia had been a valuable learning experience which could assist efforts to establish an industry in the Pilbara.
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) CEO Peter Jeffries was joined by members of Maxima Pearling Company and the Pilbara Development Commission, which are currently undertaking a pilot project to grow rock oysters in Flying Foam Passage off Dampier.
MAC rangers are also involved in the project, learning how to check and monitor the growth of the baby rock oysters (spat).
The group travelled to Port Lincoln in South Australia last week (Oct 28) to tour several established rock oyster farms.
“The tour gave me some invaluable insights into the logistics involved in establishing a successful rock oyster industry,” Mr Jeffries said.
“It was definitely a learning experience and highlighted the opportunities that establishing a local industry could provide.”
Maxima Pearling General Manager Steven Gill said the trip was worthwhile.
“The travel to learn from successful oyster producing regions in Australia highlighted the fantastic opportunities we have in front of us,” he said.
“However, there will also be challenges as we are producing a new species of rock oyster in a very different environment.”
Mr Jeffries also travelled to the first Tropical Rock Oyster Conference in Darwin last month (October) to learn about progress across Northern Australia in developing a tropical rock oyster industry.
The conference covered topics like quality assurance, industry regulations, potential diseases, research priorities and genetics.
The South Australia trip was funded by a State Government scholarship, which granted MAC and Maxima Pearling $30,000 through the Premier’s Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program.
The Pilbara Rock Oyster Research and Development Project is a partnership between the Pilbara Development Commission, Fisheries Research Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian Government, City of Karratha, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Maxima Pearling Company.