30 June, 2023

Three methods of oyster farming in NSW

There are three key growing methods our farmers use, depending on the unique environment of their oysters.

An older method (from the 1980’s) where a large (1m square) tray sits atop racks with rails which are fixed to the estuary seabed and set to the high-water mark. Trays are subject to the tide and water flow. The tray system is still used in areas subject to high freshwater flows and flooding and can be used to accelerate shell growth when oysters need to be pushed along (length and size).

A large mesh pouch with floatation devices is clipped along a control line allowing the bag to move with the tide, always maintaining the oyster at the top of the water table. This provides exposure to both maximum food and sunlight and allows for the greatest amount of wave agitation, which helps achieve a great shell shape. The bags can be flipped over, so they sit on top of the floats, thus keeping the oysters out of the water, which helps remove over catch and strengthen the adductor muscle.

Mostly used in estuaries or leases subject to flooding and excessive wind/tidal action. The basket is attached to a fixed-position central line which is set at the high-water mark, meaning the oysters are in and out of the water daily, according to tides. Swinging baskets are often used in ‘conditioning’ leases where growth is not required.