Hatchery gets pumping

The new Eyre Shellfish oyster hatchery at Cowell has started pumping water into its two hatchery dams, as part of stage one.

The site has been in construction since the beginning of the year, but it was only over the last 35 days that the site started to take shape, with the sheds being put into place.

Spawning is expected to start in late July to early August, with production output expected to start in October.

The hatchery came about after an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania in 2016 caused a shortage in the number of oyster spat available in Australia.

Eyre Shellfish hatchery manager Darren Fisher said the hatchery had taken every precaution to be up to the highest bio security standards.

“In the hatchery shed, each section is separate, and once you enter the shed, you have to change into fresh clothes to avoid any cross contamination,” Mr Fisher said.

Eyre Shellfish nursery manager Daniel Wicks said the dams would help prevent any potential POMS outbreak in the hatchery.

“We can leave the water from the harbour in our dams for up to 10 days, which means if there is an outbreak here, we can let the water sit in the dams for three days to let the disease die before using it in the nursery,” Mr Wicks said.

“We will also grow our own algae onsite to ensure that we are self-sufficient.”

The hatchery will create 10 jobs, with the opportunity to expand in the future.

Eyre Shellfish operations manager Gordon Gardner is excited by the knowledge the hatchery has coming from Tasmania.

“As we are part of an existing hatchery, we have so much knowledge backing us,” Mr Gardner said.

The hatchery will be beneficial to local oyster farmers, who will be able to pick their own oysters from the raceways.

“We are in talks with the (Franklin Harbour District) council to get the land next to us rezoned, in hopes that oyster farmers can bring the businesses out here closer to their farms and us,” Mr Wicks said.

“We want to create an oyster hub out here.”