DPI scientist recognised with Premier’s Prize

24 Oct 2017

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director General Scott Hansen has congratulated DPI oyster breeder Dr Wayne O’Connor on his outstanding recognition in the 2017 NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering.

At a gala awards ceremony in Sydney last night Dr O'Connor, a DPI Senior Principal Research Scientist based at Port Stephens, won the category of Innovation in NSW Public Sector Science and Engineering.

Mr Hansen said Dr O’Connor is an internationally-renowned researcher who has an exemplary record with DPI Fisheries promoting and supporting the development of NSW aquaculture.

“Wayne has established a world-leading oyster breeding program that produces disease-resistant, faster-growing stock for our oyster farmers,” Mr Hansen said.

“Production and breeding technologies developed by Wayne are currently used to produce a quarter of NSW's oysters worth $40 million each year.

“His work unravelling the drivers of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) was critical in the rapid development of biosecurity protocols to protect the broader Pacific oyster industry from the spread of disease.

“An additional and exciting new focus for Wayne and the DPI breeding program is to support the reestablishment of natural oyster reefs in NSW.

“Wayne’s efforts to help establish marine Kingfish farming on existing lease space in NSW has an estimated production value of over $50 million a year,” he said.

“I congratulate Wayne on this award and its recognition of his outstanding contribution to the State’s primary industries sector.”

Mr Hansen said the award also highlights the valuable R&D capability of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“DPI is ranked in the top one per cent of institutions globally undertaking agricultural science and plant and animal science,” he said.

“Each year DPI works with a broad range of partners on projects across the primary industries sector including agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

“This vital research underpins the primary industries sector which is now worth a record $15.44 billion in 2016-17.”

Media contact: Phil Bevan (02) 6391 3686 or 0419 602 508