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
- 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.