Poms the farmers view - David Barker


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Poms the farmers view - David Barker

  1. 1. Personal Profile Dave Barker , Managing Director • An extensive background in marine aquaculture and aquatic science including over twenty years experience in scientific research in both aquaculture and commercial fisheries and over 10 years experience as a commercial finfish and shellfish farmer. • Degree in applied biology (Hons) and a Masters degree in environmental science by research thesis, focused on environmental aspects of aquaculture. • Extensive knowledge and experience in marine biology, environmental science, commercial fisheries and aquaculture • Now focusing research skills on Research & Development (R&D) for both Sydney Rock and Pacific Oysters at TSOS bivalve hatchery. • Manages the company and the project management and development of TSOS Pty Ltd and Sydney Live Seafood expansion.
  2. 2. Historical background • Botany Bay & Georges River system were one of the highest producers of Sydney rock oysters (SRO) in Australia. Renowned for extremely fast growth rates, high quality taste and sustained condition for about 10 months of the year. • Around 57 farmers operated this waterway until it was devastated by QX and Winter mortality, all farming ceased and majority of leases removed from up river • Over 10 years later Drakes Oysters began farming again using SOCo disease resistant Sydney rock oysters • In 2005 -2010 triploid pacific oysters (PO) were commercially farmed for the 1st time in this river system • In 2009 The Shire Oyster Supply P/L commenced oyster farming culturing both SRO and PO stock
  3. 3. My farms time line • 2003-2005 Silver Beach Aquaculture. NSW 1st commercial marine Fin Fish farm in NSW, located in Botany Bay. • Using sea cage culture to produced snapper, silver bream and some Mulloway (Jewfish) but a lack of capital investment saw farm close • 2005-2008 Clearwater Marine Farms leased the facilities and as the farms manager we successfully produce Mulloway and Kingfish • In 2008-09 we produced over 30 metric tonne of Mulloway and 5t King fish and lost approx. $110K • In My opinion Marine fin fish farming is currently NOT a viable prospect in NSW due to a number of critical factors • In 2009 The Shire Oyster Supply (TSOS) commence Oyster farming using fish farm land base (originally an oyster farming shed)
  4. 4. Oyster Production Activities Sydney Rock Oyster Spat on traditional nursery tray cultivation equipment Oysters being size graded for market Recycled plastic floating basket cultivation equipment Oysters being depurated or purified prior to sale Fresh local farmed Sydney Rock Oysters
  5. 5. And Then POMS happened • • • • • • • • • • • • From 2009 to December 2011, TSOS purchased 2 crops (some 350 000) SRO stock and 3 crops of PO (totalling 880 000) In Sept 2010 we noticed some 30% mortality occurring in crop 1 oysters held in submersed baskets that had standard and large size Pacific oysters in fat condition ready for harvest Crop 1 Stock relocated into trays but mortality continued crop1 was sold out (50% lost overall) In October we examined crop 2 (350 000) oysters that were in floating cultures baskets and after only 6 months out of nursery there were sellable buffe & standard size oysters in good condition busting out of the baskets but we decided not to sell top end of the crop and to continue there culture until next season On 11th November 2010 we again examine crop 2 oysters and discover the entire lease of oysters is dead without meat in any shell We then examine our nursery trays carrying some 600 000 oysters only 2 weeks out of up wellers and find 99% are also dead We also check other juvenile triploid stock in up wellers (approx. 550 000) that belong to another farmer. Yes they too are all dead after only 10 days in the system. No the farmer wasn’t happy and still believes the stock arrived dead from shellfish Culture We believe that Woolooware Bay has experienced a problem with water quality that has caused this mortality and immediately notify the appropriate authorities who investigate many possible sources of contamination but find nothing Meanwhile we discover that pacific oysters held in other areas of Botany Bay are not affected so we decide to purchase the last available stock of spat and place another 280 000 on trays in Quibray Bay at the mouth of Botany Bay 2 weeks later this stock was all alive (as well as an adjacent 500 000 spat of Drakes stock 2 weeks later ( January 2011) 99% all stock in Quibray Bay has also died
  6. 6. And Then POMS happened Again! • In the following summers POMS was detected and measured to have an increasing period of infection within Botany Bay • And now POMS has devastated farmers in the Hawkesbury River system, also affecting Sydney rock farmers that have had stock confined due to closures • A number of Hawkesbury farmers have sold out there businesses & equipment but a good number of farmers remain dedicated to continue farming but they have little, or no available options for stock • Unlike many farmers , we had the opportunity of earning an income whilst operating the farm part time
  7. 7. Q: What to do? A: Cut your losses and move on or take a new business approach • The prospect of having lost all capital on stock and unable to restock is a daunting prospect • In order to maintain cash flow we began trading oysters, other bivalves and live seafood's • The Shire Oyster Supply Pty Ltd. (TSOS) now has three main aspects of business 1. Primary production, Oyster Farming • • • • We are primarily oyster farmers with cultivation and harvest leases in Woolooware and Quibray Bays, within Botany bay We have continued to culture both single seed oyster stock from juvenile spat to market size as well as purchase single seed oysters from other estuaries that we culture and finish/condition for sale. These oysters adopt the flavour and texture conditions of our estuary We use modern culture techniques that are both innovative and environmentally friendly that improve growth and condition of our oysters We produce and sell oysters whole/live in the shell and freshly opened
  8. 8. 2. Shellfish & Seafood Processing TSOS has several shellfish storage and processing facilities: • Cool room refrigeration and freezer storage • processing facilities for shucking and processing seafood • Wet storage facilities for holding and purging Live seafood • Purification / live shellfish storage facility
  9. 9. Sydney Live Seafood • Over the past 12 months TSOS has developed a live seafood trading business, ASIC registered as “Sydney live Seafood” • This business direction was driven from our extensive knowledge of commercial fisheries and existing relationships with fishermen and aquatic farmers in Australia. • Through this business name we offer clients both our live farmed oysters and our boutique range of sashimi grade live seafood. We are generally sole agents and suppliers of these high quality niche fisheries, making Sydney live Seafood a very unique business in the seafood supply industry
  10. 10. 3. Bivalve hatchery • • • • TSOS has constructed and developed a research/commercial scale bivalve shellfish hatchery. The hatchery was initially developed to produce SOCo Sydney rock oysters as availability is poor From my background in research & with hatchery equipment already in place I saw the seeds of opportunity in collecting surviving wild oysters that have recently settled in POMS affected waters during the peak period of the virus We hope that this will benefit our business and possibly the future of the Australian shellfish farming industry Hatchery facilities Larval oysters Juvenile oysters (Spat)
  11. 11. Our future • We consider our business to have huge potential for growth and long term stability as both farmers and live and fresh seafood suppliers. • We have several unique aspects of business that separate us from other seafood suppliers in Sydney. • We supply local farmed oysters and our ability to wet store and purify large volumes of live produce allow us to provide a diverse and unique range of the highest quality seafood. • I have a personal ambition to re establish pacific oyster culture in Botany Bay and assist in the development of a POMS resistant pacific oyster • Overall my view of POMS as a farmer having a background in research is that the global scale of this virus will assist in R&D and that industry will again somehow overcome this issue Thank you for your time
  12. 12. Questions?