Our ‘Food safety in the NSW Oyster Industry’ project has achieved a significant breakthrough. The recent NSW Food Authority annual review into Pambula Lake revealed that they will now accept the use of the project’s real-time, high-frequency monitoring sensors to manage closures.
The Food Safety project team’s success in shifting the dial away from traditional lab-based water quality testing to a digital solution is set to greatly improve the efficiency of oyster harvest regulation.
Based on data over the last three annual reviews, modelling of the salinity management shows that there would have been on average three less harvest area closures per year. Each of these closures were approximately seven days in duration and collectively represented a total of $400k in potential revenues that were forfeited due to suspended harvest.
Looking ahead, the new rapidly streamlined regulatory process will be implemented in the coming months as data continues to be collected, modelled and monitored in Pambula.
As other participating estuaries across the NSW coastline approach their own scheduled annual reviews, it is anticipated that similar outcomes may be found and applied across the state.
Food Authority's NSW Shellfish Program Manager, Anthony Zammit, believes this is a significant first step for the future of oyster production in NSW.
‘Our findings from the review in Pambula are very encouraging and a great success for the project to-date. If we can draw similar conclusions among the other management plans, we could be looking at opening up millions of dollars’ worth of new value to our industry.’
Food Agility extends our congratulations to the project team and is greatly encouraged to see the outcomes of our collaborative innovation methods begin to be realised.