Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW - Media Release
15 Nov 2023
The NSW Government is providing support to Port Stephens oyster farmers impacted by the ‘Queensland Unknown’ (QX) disease, with a $240,000 fee waiver.
In recognition of the cost to the local oyster industry the NSW Government will waive the Fisheries and Food Authority State Levy Fees for 2023-2024 for all Port Stephens Oyster farmers.
This announcement follows the detection of QX in Sydney Rock Oysters from Port Stephens in August 2021. While note dangerous to Humans, QX disease is deadly for Oysters.
The Port Stephens oyster industry was the second largest oyster producing estuary in NSW, valued at more than $11 million dollars. This fee waiver is intended to provide some relief to the local industry as they navigate how to mitigate the impacts of this disease.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has been working with the Port Stephens oyster industry to support them, including disease surveillance and breeding Sydney Rock Oysters for QX disease survival, as part of the Sydney Rock Oyster Breeding Program (SRO BP).
Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said:
“I have met with oyster farmers up in Port Stephens and have heard first-hand how devastating QX disease has been for the local industry and the wider community.
“The fee waiver means that everyone will be able to receive some relief, regardless of the size of their production history or income.
“Oysters from Port Stephens remain safe to consume, so I would encourage everyone to support your local oyster farmers this summer by indulging in some delicious oysters.”
Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said:
“Port Stephens has a long and proud history of oyster farming, spanning across multiple generations, but the last few years have been really tough.
“I thank Minister Moriarty for hearing firsthand from our local oyster farmers and responding with much-needed, practical relief.
“I'm hopeful that the fee waiver will help some of our struggling oyster farmers stay afloat and continue to produce the local oysters we all love.”
For more information about QX oyster disease and the support available please visit NSW DPIs website - https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aquatic-biosecurity/aquaculture/aquaculture/qx-oyster-disease.
MEDIA: Alastair Walton | Minister Moriarty | 0418 251 229