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Oyster Farming Starts Again

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janinerMon, 13/05/2019 - 11:03am
New Floating Oyster Cages on OL86/138
Floating Cages and old Post and Rail Oyster Farming OL86/138

There has been new work on both of the oyster leases adjacent to the residential area of the Cove. Floating cultivation has been installed on both leases and more will be installed in the near future.

On oyster lease OL86/138 (the northern lease just off East Slopes Way and part of Cove Boulevarde), the new structures are perpendicular to the shore and attached with sliding collars to posts on the shoreward side and anchored on the seaward side. Work has slowed due to the difficulty of installing the posts into a harder seabed on the northern end of the lease. There is an existing section of the old post and timber rail structures parallel to the shore and adjacent to the new structures.

On the other lease, OL86/140 (off Cove Boulevarde and south of Water Street), a single line of floating cultivation was installed on the southern end over summer. In the last week, two large poles and ten smaller poles have been added, probably in preparation for some more floating cultivation.

There is a State planning document that covers all oyster leases. It is called the Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy 2016 (OISAS 2016) and it is available online. I suspect that there are several aspects of the new structures that are not compliant with section 8.1.2 of the OASIS 2016 which deals with visual amenity.  In particular the mixing of cultivation methods and the installation of tall posts to support the floating structures may not comply with this section of the OISAS 2106. In section 6 there are guidelines about good relationships with neighbours.

The adjacent residents are concerned about the visual impact, crooked lease boundary posts, restriction of boat access and the possible changes to wave action. There is also the issue of the 20 plus broken posts that are visible at low tide just above the water line on OL86/140. Old posts just buried in the mud are also an issue.

 It should be noted that the majority of both these leases have not been cultivated for over 30 years and this is the first time that there have been floating structures on the leases. These structures are visible on all tides and would affect the wave action 24 hours a day instead of just at low tide. There are many residents that are very unhappy about the increase in oyster farming off the residential area after such a long period of inactivity, many more years than allowed in the fallowing sections of the OISAS 2016. In addition, the new structures on OL86/138 are particularly ugly.

At least three residents have contacted Fisheries to get more information and one has contacted Kate Washington to object. Others have gone out on their boats to talk to the workmen on the water.

I think the most important point to make is that the residents feel totally ignored. The residents that have contacted Fisheries have not had oyster cultivation in front of their houses since the 1980’s. The derelict structures were removed in 2002 on OL86/138 and partly removed in 2005 on OL86/140 and now workmen suddenly appear less than 100 metres from the resident’s back doors and the residents have no idea what is happening.

Oyster production has increased in the last few years and it is highly likely that there will be substantially more activity in the Cove in the next year. If you are concerned and would like to express your views, the best method is to contact Ian Lyall, Program Leader Aquaculture, Department of Primary Industries, Kate Washington MP and Adam Marshall, Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW. Contact details are available online. We have asked Fisheries if it would be possible to have a meeting with the lease owners, Fisheries and some resident representatives to discuss the plans for the Cove leases.

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