A NSW Government website

Oyster Biosecurity Requirements

Biosecurity controls are in place in NSW to minimise the risks associated with both QX disease and Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS). This includes movement restrictions between estuaries to support containment of these biosecurity hazards to known areas.

Under Division 3 Clause 10 of the Fisheries Management (Aquaculture) Regulation 2017, all oyster movement in NSW must be documented an Oyster Shipment Log Book. Recording can now be completed online – see the Oyster Shipment Logbook page for more information on how you can submit online.

Any unexplained and significant mortality of oysters should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

QX disease management

Map of NSW coastline with high, medium and low risk ratings marked for all oyster producing estuaries. QX risk-based biosecurity zone

The QX biosecurity zone uses a risk-based approach to managing QX, that captures all of NSW in the QX Biosecurity Zone. The current biosecurity zone places NSW estuaries into categories known as QX Risk Areas according to their risk:

High QX risk areas

  • Bellinger River
  • Kalang River
  • Richmond River
  • Clarence River
  • Macleay River
  • Hawkesbury River
  • Georges River
  • All of the tidal waters of Port Stephens estuary, including but not limited to Karuah River, Myall River and Tilligerry Creek

Medium QX risk areas

  • Tweed River
  • Brunswick River

Low QX risk areas

  • All other NSW estuaries
  • Ocean waters, including Jervis Bay and Twofold Bay

The movement of equipment out of high and medium QX risk areas is permitted only if it has been treated in accordance with the provisions of the Biosecurity Order Permitted Activities.

Can cultivated oysters be moved under the biosecurity zone?

Under this biosecurity zone, oysters can be traded freely between estuaries with the same QX risk ranking. Estuaries of lower QX risk can move product to higher QX risk estuaries. Higher QX risk estuaries cannot move product to lower QX risk estuaries.


Oysters can me moved from Brunswick River to Georges River as this is going from a medium QX risk to high QX risk ranked estuary.

Oysters cannot be moved from Richmond River to Tweed River as this is moving oysters from a higher QX risk estuary to a lower QX risk estuary.

The risk rankings of estuaries can be changed under this biosecurity zone. A drop in ranking from a higher QX risk to a lower QX risk category (i.e., from High QX risk to Medium QX risk or Medium QX risk to Low QX risk) will be considered when there is three consecutive years of surveillance testing with negative results.  For example, QX was identified in Wooli River in 2006 and surveillance testing in 2007, 2008 and 2009 provided negative results. Therefore, in May 2009 the QX risk ranking of Wooli River was changed from Medium QX risk to Low QX risk.

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome management

POMS Biosecurity Zone

NSW DPI has established a POMS Biosecurity Zone under the NSW Biosecurity Regulation 2019. In this zone, POMS affected areas are described and restrictions apply on the movement of oysters and oyster cultivation equipment. Oysters and equipment may only be moved between affected areas. The movement of oysters from affected areas to any other unaffected NSW waterway is not permitted. Oyster cultivation equipment may only be moved to other unaffected POMS waterways if it has been treated in accordance with strict biosecurity measures.

Moving equipment out of POMS affected areas

Strict biosecurity measures are described in the Biosecurity Order (Permitted Activities) 2019. These must be followed to allow for oyster cultivation and research equipment that has been used in POMS affected areas to be cleaned and decontaminated before it can be safely used in other unaffected waterways.

Control Order restrictions on importing oysters from Tasmania

The Biosecurity (Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome) Control Order 2021 is in force. This control order provides restrictions on the importation to NSW of oysters and oyster cultivation equipment originating from Tasmania, to reduce the risk of spread of POMS from infected areas of Tasmania into unaffected areas of NSW.

Responding to new outbreaks

procedure has been developed that outlines the management actions and legislative provisions that may be used in response to suspected or confirmed outbreaks of POMS in NSW waterways where POMS has not previously been known to occur.

DPI support for access to disease resistant stock from Tasmania

NSW DPI has been working with industry to develop biosecurity protocols to support approved NSW oyster growers to access specially bred disease resistant hatchery produced Pacific Oyster spat (juvenile oysters) in Tasmania. These protocols require strict biosecurity measures are met to support safe importation of spat into NSW.

POMS disease resistant Pacific Oyster broodstock are held in Tasmania. Following the outbreak of POMS in Tasmania in February 2016, the initial NSW control order restricted access to products produced using these broodstock, with the exception of movement into POMS affected estuaries under a specific protocol.

Since that time, NSW DPI has worked with the oyster industry and the Tasmanian Government to develop strict biosecurity protocols that support the  safe importation of Tasmanian oyster spat into NSW POMS unaffected estuaries for cultivation.

The development of the protocols was informed by extensive and independent risk analysis relating to the risks and risk mitigation options available. Based on the outcomes of this evidence-based risk assessment process NSW DPI was able to develop a protocol to provide access to stock from Tasmania for these estuaries and safeguard the NSW industry against introduction of POMS into unaffected areas .

A precautionary three-year temporary outward movement restriction was enforced on the NSW receiving estuaries while active surveillance was implemented to confirm the protocol was working. The surveillance was completed in 2020 and 2021, involving laboratory analysis of 640 oyster samples. The surveillance program was completed in March 2021, which found no evidence of OsHV-1 µvar in these estuaries.

On 27 August 2021, an updated Control Order was published in the NSW Government Gazette to revoke the temporary movement restrictions on the Clyde and Shoalhaven/Crookhaven rivers, returning these estuaries to normal business.

How does the QX biosecurity zone interact with the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) biosecurity zone?

The POMS biosecurity zone has some complex rules that still restrict inter-estuarine movements of oysters even though those movements may be permitted under the QX biosecurity zone. Permit holders have been provided a table outlining the permitted oyster movements according to the rules of both the QX biosecurity zone and the POMS biosecurity zone. To request a copy of this table please contact the Aquatic Biosecurity Unit using the contact details listed below.

Further information

NSW Legislation:

In New South Wales

NSW Department of Primary Industries Aquatic Biosecurity Unit:

Aquatic Biosecurity Risk Management Program
Port Stephens Fisheries Institute
Nelson Bay NSW 2315
P: 02 4916 3900
F: 02 4916 3979
E: aquatic.biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au

In Queensland

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Phone: 13 25 23