07/05/2020 - 10:23

WA researchers breed rare oyster species

07/05/2020 - 10:23

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Western Australian researchers have bred a rare and emerging species of rock oyster, which the state government believes could help grow WA's nascent oyster industry.

WA researchers breed rare oyster species
Peter Tinley (right), alongside DPIRD's principal research scientist Michel Bermudes. Photo: DPIRD

Western Australian researchers have bred a rare and emerging species of rock oyster, which the state government believes could help grow WA's nascent oyster industry.

The black lip rock oyster, common to tropical climates, has been the subject of attention in Australia in recent years, with controlled breeding of the species taking place in the Northern Territory and WA.

Researchers at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development had received $570,000 in funding last year to investigate possible breeding of the species in the state’s north, with stock developed in its marine shellfish hatchery in Hillarys.

Having successfully bred the species under controlled conditions, the department will now begin further breeding trials off the Karratha and Derby coastlines this September.

According to the state government, every 1,000 tonnes of oysters produced could create 250 regional jobs for the state.

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley welcomed the news this morning, calling it the first step in a plan to grow Western Australia’s tropical rock oyster industry.

“WA’s aquaculture industries contribute $21 million annually to the WA economy,” Mr Tinley said.

“This research project is a great example of the McGowan Government driving diversification and development in the north, which in the longer term will lead to the creation of new jobs and boost economic growth in the regions.”

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