Oyster stocks affected by flood damage
Australians’ favorite Sydney rock oyster may be harder to find on menus following a recent devastating supply hit.
Australians’ favorite Sydney rock oyster may be harder to find on menus due to a recent supply hit.
Heavy rain events in northern NSW and southeastern Queensland impacted crops in a number of major producing rivers.
The main problem facing oyster farmers has been salinity levels, according to NSW Farmers Federation Oyster Committee Chair Todd Graham, who also runs a farm on the Northeast Coast’s Macleay River.
He explained that washing rainwater in estuaries increased freshwater levels beyond what some oysters could survive.
“The biggest problem is that rivers stay fresh for too long. Oysters obviously need salt water, ”Graham said.
Farmers have found high levels of mortality in areas that have experienced heavy rain in recent weeks
While Sydney’s largest rock oysters can handle fresh water for around three to four weeks, consecutive rain events have been devastating to many harvests.
“Just as the salt is returning to the estuaries, then we have another rain event. Basically the ground is so wet, nothing gets drenched in the ground, it all goes straight into the estuaries, ”Graham said.
Mr. Graham was lucky enough to be able to relocate three million of his juvenile livestock to keep them safe at the National Marine Science Center at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbor.
However, with oysters taking two to three years to fully mature, the ripple effect of deficiencies could last for several seasons.
Mr. Graham hopes that, with Sydney rock oysters grown across NSW, areas least affected by recent natural disasters can compensate for others as they recover.
“We have been very affected by the floods recently. Previously, fires hit farms in the southern part, “she explained.
“So now they are recovering from the fires and will be able to recover the game and then hopefully in the next few years we will all be back in full production.”
Originally published as Because oysters are harder to find