Blacklip the pearl of Australian tropical rock oysters

Northern Australia's fledgling tropical rock oyster industry has been given a boost with formal identification for all Blacklip Rock Oysters produced or sold in Australia.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud welcomed the announcement and future benefits for the Northern Australian fisheries sector.

“Formalising a standard name for this species of tropical oyster will strengthen consumer confidence in provenance of oysters grown in the Northern Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Our farmers and hatcheries benefit because provenance and traceability show consumers that our products are high quality, safe and sustainable.

“This research project from the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) aims to create a commercially viable, sustainable, Northern Australian tropical rock oyster industry.

“It is expected to employ at least 500 people and result in a direct increase in output for Northern Australia of over $200 million.

“The Morrison-Joyce Government has invested over $500 million in biosecurity since the May 2021 budget which will help emerging aquaculture industries such as this.”

Minister for Defence Industry and Science and Technology and Member for Durack Melissa Price said the move was further confirmation of the Morrison Joyce Government’s ongoing support to developing Australia’s north.                                  

“The boost to jobs is very welcome and shows how committed we are to creating jobs in Northern Australia,” Minister Price said.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam welcomed the project results in developing and investigating new hatchery and farming techniques.

“The project successfully bred Blacklip Rock Oysters for the first time at hatcheries in Darwin and Perth,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Aquaculture is making a growing contribution to Australia’s seafood industry, making up around half of the total GVP share of the Australian fisheries and aquaculture industry in 2020.

“Our 2017 National Aquaculture Strategy aims to grow the aquaculture sector in Australia to $2 billion by 2027, and this project exhibits our commitment to the sustainable growth of the sector.”

Fast Facts:

  • The CRCNA invested $1.2 million in the Northern Australian Tropical Rock Oyster project which is being delivered in collaboration with its partners.
  • The most recent ABARES agricultural commodities report forecast the value of the farming, fishing, and forestry sectors to rise to a record $83.9 billion in 2021-22, with fisheries expected to reach $3.1 billion.
  • The outlook for oyster production is forecast to rise to $116 million in 2021-22 (up from $113 million in 2020-21).

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