The breeding program for fast growth has been very successful and selection for disease resistance is showing good promise. Future progress of these breeding programs will be augmented with the development of genetic markers for disease resistance and fast growth. However, all this work is now on hold pending the results of this review.
Despite the best efforts of the staff at the Port Stephens Fisheries Centre, the hatchery production problems of the Sydney rock oyster have not been overcome over the past 10 years. This has failed despite input from marine pathologists within NSW Fisheries, other laboratories in Australia as well and overseas. (For recent review see Heasman, 2000). Therefore it is imperative that past research and hatchery practices are reviewed to determine if with revised and more disciplined approach the problems could be resolved.
The fact that a hatchery in Albany, WA has been able to successfully produce commercial quantities of the western strain of Sydney rock oysters spat suggests that problems encountered in NSW are surmountable. It is therefore proposed that hatchery production technology and the breeding program at the Port Stephens Fisheries Centre be reviewed afresh by an independent panel of experts to determine if a remedial course of action can be formulated.
Without commercial hatchery production of spat the NSW oyster industry is doomed to decline further, as the competing Pacific oyster industries interstate and New Zealand take advantage of genetic improvement and year round supply of spat.
Heasman, M., 2000. Improved early survival of molluscs - Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata). Final Report to Aquaculture CRC Project A.2.1. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series (in press).