This project follows on from the success of the ‘NSW Oysters Transformation' project, which proved that real-time temperature and salinity sensors used in regulatory harvest management can lead to cost efficiencies for oyster farmers.
As filter feeders, shellfish like oysters and mussels accumulate particles from surrounding waterways. Following high-risk events such as heavy rainfall, harmful algal blooms, or shellfish disease outbreaks in the estuary, regulators like the NSW Food Authority implement precautionary harvest area closures to manage potential food safety risks.
Shellfish farmers in Australia are not currently able to predict the likelihood of a harvest area closure due to these high-risk events. If farmers were aware of an imminent closure, they could take meaningful action such as harvesting early, or moving stock to lower risk areas of their lease to reduce mortality risk.
This project will deliver estuary-specific models relating to shellfish growth, disease risk, harmful algal bloom risk, sources of contamination, and other factors influencing industry productivity. The project, led by researchers from The University of Technology Sydney and DPI Aquaculture Research, will continue working with NSW shellfish farmers from the previous project, and expand to include additional estuaries in NSW and WA.
Each of the models will rely on measurements from real-time sensors developed by ICT International (NSW) and In Situ Marine Optics (WA), which will be deployed across a number of commercial estuaries in both states. The high frequency data collection will allow more accurate modelling of harvest area conditions, which will inform farm management decisions for the shellfish industry in these areas.
These estuary-specific models will be used in two ways:
In addition to the project partners, this project is also proudly funded by the NSW Government through the Bushfire Industry Package Sector Development Grants initiative.
Stage One - December 2017 - March 2021
Associate Professor at the School of Life Science at the University of Technology Sydney.
Research Fellow at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney.
Manager NSW Shellfish Program at New South Wales Government (DPI NSW)
Shellfish Operations Officer NSW Shellfish Program at New South Wales Government (DPI NSW)
Senior Principal Research Scientist at New South Wales Government (DPI NSW)