A Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) project team looking to grow the north’s tropical rock oyster industry has successfully bred a new black lip rock oyster for the first time at the Western Australian government’s Hillarys marine shellfish hatchery. It’s an important achievement for the team of researchers, as it highlights the efficacy of the new breeding techniques being explored as part of the project.
Lead researcher, Michel Bermudes, from the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA DPIRD) said project partner Maxima Rock Oyster Company collected the oyster broodstock from Cone Bay in the Kimberley. “Our revamped Hillarys marine shellfish hatchery has provided the perfect setting for us to refine our breeding techniques and apply them across areas such as larvae culture, feeding and water filtration. The black lip rock oyster spat will continue to be grown in the hatchery until it is relocated to one of the northern research trial sites of the Karratha and Derby coastlines later this year,” said Bermudes.
Black lip rock oysters are expected to perform well in northern tropical conditions, providing diversification and investment opportunities for shellfish farmers in Western Australia and in the Northern Territory, where a partner project is also underway. The $4.1 million Northern Australian Tropical Rock Oyster R&D project is shaping up to deliver big gains for the Northern Australian industry. Western Australia’s aquaculture industries contribute $21 million annually to the Western Australian economy.