Feature: Emerging edible oyster industry in the NT

The Fisheries Division works with Aboriginal communities to increase their participation in the commercial seafood industry, and the Darwin Aquaculture Centre’s (DAC) partnership with a community on South Goulburn Island is producing promising results.

The DAC team is helping the Warruwi community develop a black-lip rock oyster farm, and in  November 2018 produced 200,000 black‑lip rock  oyster spat (juvenile oysters) at the DAC hatchery. This was the most successful run to date.

There has been plenty of media interest in the project, which featured on the ABC’s national Landline program, and the DAC team is leading the way nationally with black‑lip rock oyster hatchery production. Initial hatchery runs only produced up to 30,000 oyster spat, but after three years of focused research effort, production has increased significantly, with 90,000 spat produced in the 2017‑18 wet season and the 200,000 spat produced in the 2018‑19 wet season.

The DAC team works with the Yagbani Aboriginal Corporation on the project. Chairperson Bunug Galaminda said they had been looking for ways to create sustainable jobs for locals, and the training and mentoring provided by the DAC team was invaluable.

“We’re very proud of the oyster farm and I’m grateful to the Aquaculture Centre in Darwin,” he said. “We didn’t give up, we kept going, and this is the end result. We were looking for a gold mine, and this is the gold mine that we’ve got now, the oyster farm.”

A successful black-lip rock oyster industry could see oysters sold into Darwin and beyond, creating more jobs and sustainable economic development for remote coastal communities.

“I want a sign (in a restaurant) saying these oysters come from the pristine waters off South Goulburn Island,” Bunug said.

“This means employment, training and money coming into this community.”

The DAC team is also working with several other Aboriginal communities interested in oyster farming.


ANNUAL REPORT 2018-19 - DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES


Last updated: 23 October 2019

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