Port Stephens QX Industry/DPI Working Group

Industry summary

Meeting two - 29 September 2021

The Port Stephens QX Industry / DPI Working Group had its second meeting on September 29th 2021. Chaired by Mark Bulley, the industry members of the Working Group were Caju Barbosa, Geoff Diemar, Robert Redmayne and Steve Verdich. Laura Stoltenberg, the NSW Oyster Industry Extension Officer is also a member.

A key outcome of the meeting was an agreement to progress the delivery of a QX resistant spat supply strategy, which was drafted by DPI in consultation with the Working Group. This strategy outlines an approach to boost the supply of QX disease resistant Sydney Rock Oyster spat for the NSW oyster industry. It establishes guidelines for how DPI may enter the marketplace if required, to bolster spat supply. This follows a formal industry request for DPI assistance. It also details management of valuable broodstock for inter- and intrastate hatcheries, coordination of demand, and available assistance funding for industry. This document addresses DPI capacity to provide assistance for the 2021/2022 breeding season. The draft strategy will go through industry consultation including the Shellfish Committee, the NSW Farmers Association Oyster Committee, and private sector hatcheries and nurseries.

The current information on private sector hatchery and nursery spat availability is provided on the NSW Oysters website along with a recording of a webinar held last week on how to order hatchery spat and handling techniques for single seed spat that was held on 22/09/2021. Contact Laura Stoltenberg, NSW Oyster Industry Extension Officer for more information.

QX surveillance and tracing results were presented to the Working Group. See the Frequently asked Questions on the NSW DPI permit holder information website. It was requested that further details be presented to the Working Group. It was highlighted that the Port Stephens September surveillance results indicated a very low prevalence of QX disease being so late in the infection period. The results were a snapshot, and that the data is not accurate enough to develop management strategies for inter-estuarine movements in Port Stephens at this time. The biosecurity QX risk ranking for Port Stephens remains under investigation and orders remain in place to address oyster and oyster equipment movements. Longer term biosecurity measures and a risk ranking for Port Stephens will be informed by outcomes of the QX surveillance program set for Autumn 2022.

Meetings will be held fortnightly. The next meeting will be on 13th October 2021 at 15:30 hours. For all issues to be raised by the working group, please contact your Port Stephens industry representatives.