The establishment of a new native oyster aquaculture sector in SA will not only diversify the business risk of the existing Pacific oyster sector, but has the potential to become a multi-million dollar industry itself. As native oyster is an ideal alternative species to mitigate POMS, the successful development of this aquaculture sector will strengthen the confidence of existing/new growers and investors in both Pacific and native oysters; thereby encouraging further expansion of the industry. In addition, supporting species diversification is one of the high strategic priorities in the Oysters Australia Strategic Plan 2014-2019.
The 2015-229 “Oysters Australia IPA - workshop - identifying knowledge gaps for development of the native oyster aquaculture industry in South Australia” brought together oyster farmers, hatchery operators and scientists from across Australia to share their knowledge and experience with native oyster (Ostrea angasi) aquaculture and help to identify the key knowledge gaps in the production chain. Through presentations and group discussions, a number of research and development needs were identified. These were categorised into seven key areas: early life history/genetic improvement, farming, oyster health, post-harvest, marketing and branding, industry network and training and education. Across these categories, 19 key research and development needs were identified and prioritised via a post-workshop survey. The following four research and development needs were prioritised as being most important
- Having a constant and reliable spat supply.
Development of a selective breeding program to improve Bonamia resistance, growth rate, meat/shell ratio, colour, lustre, etc.
Establishment of good husbandry practices (e.g. handling, density, growing heights, sub-tidal vs. intertidal, seasonal effects, a system to suit O. angasi production).
Increase the shelf life/improve packaging/develop processing methods.
Identifying these needs will help to target future research to meet industry priorities and establish/develop the South Australian/Australian native oyster industry.
Keywords: Native oysters; Ostrea angasi; Australia; aquaculture