Tasmanian and South Australian oyster producers work together

First published in The Examiner 27 February 2018. Click here to read the full article.

When Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome hit Tasmania in 2016 oyster growers and markets throughout Australia were devastated.

The industry suffered great losses, but oyster producers also realised how reliant they were on spat produced in Tasmania.

East Coast producer Cameron of Tasmania formed a hatchery partnership with Port Lincoln business Yumbah Aquaculture to ensure the South Australian industry could continue without relying on Tasmanian product.

The interstate partnership that resulted in Yumbah Hatchery produced its first commercially viable oysters in January 2017.

A crucial factor in this partnership was developing a reliable supply of oyster spat in South Australia to revive and grow the state’s industry, Cameron of Tasmania general manager Ben Cameron said.

“Thanks primarily to our very similar corporate cultures, our partnership with Yumbah Aquaculture has been a resounding success to date,” Mr Cameron said.

“In a short time frame, and under a great deal of pressure, Yumbah Hatchery has proved we can supply the market with the highest quality stock, in good numbers and in a timely fashion.

“In our first year we managed to produce and sell about 35 million baby oysters, which means about $800,000 in sales,” he said.

Yumbah Hatchery was expanded with the help of a $250,000 State Regional Development Fund from the South Australian government.

“The RDF grant and subsequent expansion of the hatchery will allow us to increase the scale of our business at Point Boston and to generate more local employment in the Port Lincoln area,” Mr Cameron said.

“It’s an exciting time for everyone involved with the Yumbah Hatchery and we’re looking forward to the next stage of our development.”

Family-owned business Cameron of Tasmania was established at Dunalley in 1991.

In almost 30 years the business has expanded into one of the finest vertically integrated oyster farms in the region, producing world-class oyster products ranging from three millimetre spat to jumbo live oysters.

“We’ve demonstrated our expertise in providing oyster spat to the majority of South Australia for many years, and have an excellent understanding of what is required to run a successful hatchery operation,” Mr Cameron said.

“At this stage, the full benefits of our partnership with Yumbah are yet to be realised however, as we continue to grow our working relationship, I anticipate the emergence of a whole host of synergies,” he said.