New funding to develop disease-resistant oyster strains will further shore up the resilience of Australia’s oyster industry, guaranteeing the domestic supply of oysters into the future.
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonathon Duniam, said the $756,428 investment will help to support research in developing Pacific Oysters resistant to the devastating Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) virus.
“Since the outbreak of the POMS virus in Tasmania in 2016, the Government has taken measures to secure the future of the industry,” Minister Duniam said.
“This funding is in addition to more than $5 million allocated for Stage One of the Federal Government’s ‘Future Oysters CRC-P Project’—the selective breeding program established after the outbreak of the deadly disease, with the project seeing more than 160 selected oyster families developed.
“Supporting this research means we are future-proofing our regional economies, and enhancing productivity in our important aquaculture industries to secure and create jobs and investment in our regional areas.”
After POMS was detected in Tasmania, restrictions were imposed on sending spat from Tasmania, impacting South Australian growers and Australian consumers with a fall in production of 70 per cent.
Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey MP, said the new investment will support researchers at Primary Industries and Regions SA’s (PIRSA) research division and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in developing Pacific Oysters resistant to POMS.
“Cooperation amongst Australia’s various oyster growing regions as well as investment by industry and Government has been vital to the oyster industry’s recovery,” Mr Ramsay said.
“With funding and partnership agreements secured for another three years, researchers will be able to forge ahead to achieve the disease resistance we need.”
The project is jointly funded through a partnership between PIRSA, SARDI, Australian Seafood Industries, the South Australian Oyster Growers’ Association, Flinders Ports, and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.