Project number: 2021-047
Project Status:
Current
Budget expenditure: $628,669.00
Principal Investigator: Max Wingfield
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Brisbane
Project start/end date: 13 Oct 2022 - 29 Sep 2026
Contact:
FRDC

Need

QOGA has identified core research priorities that need to be addressed to improve productivity and reverse the steady decline in production.

This project will partner with QOGA and other stakeholders to address the identified need to establish new oyster farming options, technologies, and production systems. The RD&E requires a dual focus, to both improve viability of the current SRO sector, and initiate commercialisation of new TRO varieties for expansion beyond SEQ.

Recent flood events have emphasised the urgent requirement to further improve the quality and availability of QX resistant SRO stock. It is a QOGA priority to have QX resistance validation trials conducted in Qld to determine the most viable SRO options for SEQ. Validation will be undertaken in collaboration with NSW DPI (building on FRDC 2016/802) and will link with farm-based growout trials conducted at strategic sites, assessing performance relative to location and system. Outcomes will also form a benchmark for direct comparison with newly identified lineages.

With the identification of new TRO varieties (FRDC 2018-118), QOGA advocates that both BRO and LGRO require thorough investigation and the development of targeted hatchery and growout research including farm-based production trials. This aligns with QOGA’s need to access additional culture species options with increased temperature tolerance (essential for northern expansion and climate-change security) and potential QX resistance.

A research hatchery has recently been established to address QOGA’s request for a dedicated R&D hatchery. The hatchery is already producing priority oyster strains (SRO & BRO) and is capable of undertaking this required research and meeting the industry’s immediate requirement to access spat.

To efficiently address the Qld oyster industry’s stated priority needs, this project will undertake research that combines new genomic sequencing and hatchery technologies, best practice production processes and expert local oyster farmer knowledge.

Objectives

1. Overall:Provide an assessment of the most regionally appropriate oyster species and associated production protocols capable of improving oyster farm productivity and achieving broad industry expansion within and beyond SEQ.
2. Hatchery and nursery:Improve hatchery and nursery production capacity to support R&D activities and provide Qld farmers with additional spat while developing more efficient hatchery/ nursery processes that include advanced molecular processes for improving reproductive capacity, gonad conditioning and reliability of spawning.
3. Blacklip Rock Oysters:Provide reliable BRO spat production capacity that meets the short-term stocking and start-up needs of Qld BRO farms. Develop locally relevant production protocols and determine BRO farming suitability at specific locations along the Qld coastline, while integrating with and contributing to broader CRCNA RD&E activities.
4. Lineage G Rock Oysters:Provide reliable LGRO spat production capacity that meets the short-term stocking and start-up needs of Qld LGRO farms. Develop novel hatchery, production, and post-harvest assessment protocols for LGRO.
5. Sydney Rock Oysters:Improve understanding of SRO QX resistance through validation trials assessing the benefits of QX resistant strains under SEQ conditions. Develop information on production parameters and systems for specific SEQ farming locations to assist with development of best practice production protocols.
6. Genetics and distribution:Develop conclusive, oyster industry focussed, genetic information detailing BRO and LGRO distribution and diversity along Queensland’s east coast. This information is essential for assessing geographic aquaculture potential at both a species and population level and developing appropriately informed management and stocking policies.
7. Non-destructive sampling:Develop refined sampling and genetic identification technologies to achieve accurate, rapid, and non-destructive broodstock identification procedures. This is necessary to ensure that hatchery activities can reliably identify and produce the required species or population.

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