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Oyster Production Still Declining


janinerMon, 10/08/2015 - 8:15pm
Department of Primary Industries
Aquaculture Production Report 2013/2014

Oyster production Figures for 2013/2014

The annual Aquaculture Production Report 2013/2014 was released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in February 2015- go to http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/aquaculture/faqs/aquaculture-product...

 I have analysed the section relating to the oyster industry, converted the figures to bags instead of dozens and summarized the results for the last 5 years- see production table below.

The figures show an increase in production in Sydney rock oyster both in Port Stephens and state wide. This increase is countered by a dramatic drop in Pacific oyster production. The Pacific oyster suffered a mass mortality in Port Stephens due to unknown causes. Total production in Port Stephens decreased by 13.1% and state wide by 5.7%.

 It still amazes me that the Government can put a great spin on the figures when the news is mixed. To see the press release go to http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/545827/media_relea...

Basically there was no mention of the problems with the Pacific oyster, just a glowing report of the increase in the total value of aquaculture (which was mainly due to higher prices and better results for land based aquaculture). In fact, the total value of oyster production, despite the drop in production, was roughly the same as last year due to higher prices of Sydney rock oysters. It was also interesting that 21% of permit holders reported nil production, an increase on recent years.

There are several changes in the report from previous years. Figures were not given for the value of the Pacific rock oyster production or the production by the type of cultivation. The production is now reported in dozens instead of bags. (Reporting bags actually gives a better indication of the mass or volume of production, so I convert the figures).

Overall, the industry seems to be still slowly declining and the results for 2013/2014 are the lowest in the last 15 years. There will be ups and downs depending on disease outbreaks, poor growing conditions due to bad weather and stock losses due to storms and flooding, but the overall trend is down.

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