Pilbara oyster farm project ready to hit the water

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
A group of oyster experts and local stakeholders tour Maxima Pearling Company's lease in Flying Foam Passage.
Camera IconA group of oyster experts and local stakeholders tour Maxima Pearling Company's lease in Flying Foam Passage. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

A pilot project to grow edible oysters in the Pilbara is set to go ahead in the Dampier Peninsula’s Flying Foam Passage by the end of the year.

The Maxima Pearling Company and Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation-led research and development trial will assess the economic viability of oyster farming.

Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill said the project would consider cost, rate of growth and water quality parameters for cultured rock oysters.

“Rock oysters already grow naturally in abundance on the Pilbara coast, and studies have shown the Pilbara’s environmental conditions, freight networks and extensive coastline make it well-suited to rock oyster farming,” he said.

“This is the next step towards developing a commercial oyster industry by filling the knowledge gap that currently exists about how well oysters grow in a controlled environment.”

Maxima Group Managing Director John Hutton said the potential for a rock oyster industry in the Pilbara was “enormous”.

“Last year Maxima participated in a panel discussion at the (New Pilbara) conference to promote the potential opportunity for oyster farming in the region, so it’s great to be taking the stage again this year and be talking about a project that’s now underway,” he said.

Mr Hutton will be speaking at the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference in Perth on Tuesday.

A report from the trial will be used to promote the establishment of an aquaculture industry in the region by attracting private investors and commercial operators.

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