August 01, 2019

We are looking for new Directors!

We are looking for new Directors!


The Sydney Rock Oyster (SRO) breeding program aims to improve levels of disease resistance, fast growth and condition in accordance with industry priorities. The breeding program uses single-pair mated families to target desired traits from known broodstock parentage. This type of breeding program requires regular family breeding runs, broodstock holding capability, field trials for performance evaluation, a data management system for quantitative genetics analyses, inbreeding management and strategy formulation. To ensure the breeding program progresses as efficiently as possible and addresses meets industry priorities, a Board of Directors made up of stakeholders work closely with a quantitative geneticists, NSW Fisheries and industry groups to offer guidance and direction.


The Board is comprised of dedicated volunteers who contribute to the operation, management & development of the Select Oyster Company. If you are interested in being part of this program and contributing to the long term success of the NSW oyster industry then please consider  applying to become a board member.

Click here for an overview of Board duties and desirable attributes - deadline 30th September 2019

November 30, 2017

Welcome our two new staff

Rob and Todd have joined the SOCo team in December 2017, and will be with us while our previous Operations Manager, Emma is on maternity leave. 


Rob is an oyster farm owner-operator from Port Stephens with several years experience in farming in the Mahurangi New Zealand and Ceduna South Australia. Rob has devoted his time to improving infrastructure and adopting modern farming techniques including nursery techniques to get the best from his leases. In 2017 he graduated from the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program. 



Todd Graham is an oyster farm owner-operator from Macleay River. Prior to becoming an oyster farmer, Todd worked in water treatment management for over ten years with several councils. He's been with SOCo for almost a year already as part of our intern program, gaining training in pedigree broodstock management and progeny testing.    

Contact them by clicking on this link




September 07, 2017

Oyster Conference & SOCo TAFE Workshop

The SOCo TAFE workshop, “Optimising yield from selected seed, making it work for your farm” was attended by 45 people including 34 growers, representatives from NSW DPI, Oysters Australia, FRDC, ARAC and Blue Harvest. We heard excellent presentations from Dominic Boyton Merimbula Gourmet Oysters: ‘The Real Cost of Wild V Hatchery Spat Production’ and Ana Rubio, ‘Things to keep in mind during stock handling and management’  followed by a panel session with Dominic, Ana and hatchery managers Jonathan Bilton WA hatchery and NSW DPI technicians Kyle Johnston and Brandt Archer. The panel addressed several questions including the ETA for the WA hatchery spat supply into NSW, issues concerning lack of hatchery spat supply, the upcoming Moruya hatchery, and the economics of nursery business to name a few. Overall, industry wants to be more involved in boosting supply, and how they can be. SOCo’s first response is to encourage growers to place orders with hatcheries and nurseries – documenting the demand is critical in supporting hatchery production. But there’s also room for further discussions about collaborative opportunities for industry involvement. SOCo will endeavour to address these items raised at future workshops and Board meetings.


NSW TAFE then took the stage to discuss the practical training course and its enrolment requirements. Growers participated in the hands-on practical session where they were taught to measure oysters with callipers and qualify condition, shape and ‘marketability’ using benchmarks. Twenty growers enrolled at the end of the day, and each will receive a free sample of SOCo spat. They’ll be tasked with assessing growth and performance of this spat on their leases over a six month period as part of the TAFE assessment program and qualification.   


This workshop was funded by the NSW LLS and Future Oysters CRC-p.  

July 09, 2017

NSW DPI Aquaculture News

See all the latest editions of the online NSW DPI Aquaculture Update Newsletter, the most recent edition June 2017. Click here. 

February 22, 2017

ABC Rural Country Hour

We were proud to be interviewed alongside talented hatchery owner and manager Tony Troup Camden Haven Oyster Supply, aquaculture scientist Mike Dove NSW DPI Fisheries and bivalve expert hatchery consultant from Canada Chantal Gionet about the development of the Sydney Rock Oyster breeding program and what our vision is for the future of its roll out to industry. 

To listen to the interview, click here, and listen from 13:30 - 18:45 minutes. For the full story click here.  

February 20, 2017

SOCo’s Hatchery Hub and training program has taken off this year. In January, hatchery expert and consultant Chantal Gionet from New Brunswick Canada was in NSW working with SOCo to identify ways to improve Sydney Rock Oyster hatchery production methods. She visited Port Stephens Fisheries Institute hatchery and spent the majority of her on-ground work at Camden Haven Oyster Supply hatchery. During her visit, Chantal covered in depth every aspect of hatchery operations from broodstock management and conditioning, algae production, hatchery hygiene, spawning and fertilization, larval rearing and setting. She assessed environmental conditions and provided advice to the hatchery and to SOCo in regards to increasing production. We are currently waiting for lab results for pathology and water quality analyses which will help us make conclusions about her findings and recommendations. We expect that she has identified certain environmental characteristics specific to hatchery sites that influence Sydney Rock Oyster hatchery production which can be managed through operational techniques. This knowledge will be incorporated into SOCo’s hatchery training program which is currently being designed with Seafood Training Tasmania and NSW North Coast TAFE.


To showcase the work SOCo hosted a Hatchery Hub workshop on February 8th at Port Stephens Fisheries Institute. Attendees included 43 people from industry, hatcheries, NSW DPI Fisheries, NSW LLS, NSW Farmers Association, Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, UTS, ABC Rural and other private businesses. Presenters included Chantal, James Garde Seafood Training Tasmania, Lisa Terry NSW North Coast TAFE, Mike Dove DPI Fisheries and Emma from SOCo. Topics covered Chantal’s observations from her consultation, training options for the Sydney Rock Oyster industry focused on hatchery seed supply and handling, and the latest science on the breeding program. A strategy session followed the presentations which identified key priorities for the industry and its stakeholders under four key pillars: Supply and Demand, Communication, R&D and Extension and Training. 

The key priorities identified include: 

Supply and Demand 

- reliability / confidence in supply

- consistency

- conditioned broodstock and conditioned harvested oysters 

- overwintered stock - highlight importance in supply chain

- year round production 

- new lines

- more hatcheries in more places



- Economic justification & growers awareness of economic benefits of selected lines for improved business model

- supply chain communication; grower - hatchery - nursery

- Face to face communication best form of communication 

- There is a growing appreciation for other media (online, newsletters)

- Business planning - knowing when stock will be available to plan ahead and visa versa, hatcheries need orders to plan



- Nursery handling time, and its influence on stock performance

- Broodstock conditioning 

- Impacts of overwintering and husbandry on performance

- ' Tail end'  of stock - impacts on performance? 

- Practicality of R&D / realistic pace of industry update and understanding of the science  

- Involvement of farmers in R&D

- Seed size V survival 

- Fact sheets


Extension and training

- Showcase stock/families

- ' champion'  growers in several estuaries

- Share knowledge

- Farmer training via SOCo then formal handover to hatchery / nursery with follow up 

- Extension is undervalued 

- monitor spawn/wild overcatch

- stress index

- online, user friendly forms of communicating


This hatchery training and Hub project is thanks to funding from the NSW Local Land Services.


February 20, 2017

SOCo welcome two new interns to our team: Mitch Proudfoot and Todd Graham. 

Mitch is a biologist with a keen interest in marine sciences and aquaculture. He's completed his Masters in in Environmental Science, Coastal Management and had several academic roles including teaching, lab work and field studies in water quality and environmental and hydrodynamic modelling. He's also worked with CSIRO with the durum wheat breeding program. He's volunteers in several roles including the Rural Fire Service and research assistant roles with CSIRO. He's a keen fisher and diver and is excited to be working in the oyster aquaculture industry with the Sydney Rock Oyster breeding program.


Todd is an oyster farmer on the Macleay River, NSW where he's been farming for 15 years. Todd has several qualifications in the fields of seafood sales and distribution, water industry and management, OHS and workplace safety to name a few. He is on the NSW Farmers Oyster Committee and a keen supporter of innovation and growth for the Sydney Rock Oyster industry, particularly through the development and effective commercialization of the breeding program.  Prior to becoming an oyster farmer Todd was the Water Technical Officer for Kempsey Shire Council for nine years. We're excited to have a grower on the team from the north Coast with such a diverse skills set and industry involvement. 

Check the new series of videos that Oysters Australia is putting together to address current issues affecting the industry and to disseminate oyster projects for the benefit of the industry.

Episode 1 is out: Bruce Zippel talking about Oysters Australia, Juliet Corish from NSW DPI talking about the unknown mortalities in Port Stehens, Matt Cunninhan giving an update on the POMS resistance breeding program and Richard Barrie from Nambucca talking about a survey of foodborne viruses in Australian oysters

Episode 2 is out: Justin Gocfrom Barilla Bay Oysters talking about SenseT project, Emma Wilkie from SOCo talking about SOCo and latest SRO hatchery production; Gary Zippel from Zippel Oysters talking about the Farmers Day at WAS14

Episode 3 is out:Bruce Zippel on Decision to delay national levy; Matt Cunninham about ASI & POMS resistance breeding levy for Pacific Oyster growers; Prue Woodford on the NSW Sustainable Oyster Assessment Program; Ian Jeffreds on Shellfish Bussiness -advice from USA and David Maidment on Diversifying into Angasi production

Episode 4 is out: Steve Jones, Chair, Oysters Australia Research & Development Committee and oyster grower Hawkesbury River

Episode 5 is out: We sincerely thank and congratulate Rachel King, Executive Officer OA. We welcome Wayne Hutchinson, Incoming Research, Development and Extension Manager.   

Timeless Video: An Oyster's Australia tribute to the Seafood CRC and the exciting path forward for the oyster industry in Australia. 

NSW Oysters is a portal of information for oyster farmers and communities with latest news from across the industry, hatchery updates, classifieds, research, technology, EMS, grants, monitoring, and a list to relevant contacts throughout the industry. Every six weeks they release a newsletter. You can also join the FaceBook Page NSW Oysters. 

Contact Andy Myers for more information.

September 30, 2016

SOCo's Six Question Survey has gathered results from 48 growers and identifies demand of over 33.8 million selected lines of spat per year. 

This simple, online, quick, anonymous survey has got results from 48 growers across NSW and south QLD. Each question was optional, so respondents could give as much or a little information as they wanted. Overall, a conservative estimate of demand is over 33 million spat per year. Disease resistance and growth are the most important traits for breeding and reasons for wanting hatchery spat. Most growers want spat that's 4-8 mm in size. 

Thank you to all the responses. The survey is still open and we encourage your input! 

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Workshop strategy session
Chantal counting larvae Camden Haven Oyster Supply
Chantal and Mike Dove touring Port Stephens Fisheries Institute hatchery
Chantal taking water sample from larvae tank Camden Haven Oyster Supply