The Marshall Government will waive almost $1.6 million in annual fees over the next two financial years to provide financial relief for oyster growers grappling with recent Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) outbreaks.
To support the oyster industry during this challenging period, the Liberal Government will waive all annual fees for the oyster industry, associated with aquaculture leases and licences and the South Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program in 2018/19 and 2019/20.
“We are committed to supporting our oyster growers and the many associated regional jobs as they recover from recent POMS outbreaks,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone.
“The Marshall Government is now stepping in and will waive almost $800,000 in fees per year over the next two financial years to provide much needed relief to South Australia’s $32 million oyster industry.
“An Oyster Liaison Officer position established last year will also provide a central point of contact for all oyster growers.
“The State Government is here to support the industry and help growers get back on their feet.
“Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) has previously provided $320,000 to two small South Australian oyster hatcheries on the Eyre Peninsula, to enable equipment and infrastructure upgrades to assist with the production of spat for South Australia.
“PIRSA’s research division SARDI, at a cost of $150,000, was commissioned to produce spat for industry, condition brood-stock oysters and produce microalgae, as an emergency measure for the South Australian hatcheries.
“There are now four commercial oyster hatcheries operating in South Australia, supplying spat to SA oyster growers. In addition, SARDI is still assisting the industry through supply of spat while it is needed.” On 1 February 2016, POMS was detected in Tasmania for the first time, causing close to 100 percent mortality of oysters in some farmed areas.
Pursuant to the Livestock Act 1997, a temporary ban on all live oysters and oyster farming equipment from Tasmania was implemented and has since been extended to 31 March 2019.
Prior to this ban, SA oyster farmers received regular consignments of oyster spat from Tasmanian hatcheries and the movement ban has resulted in a shortfall of spat to the South Australian industry.