Northern Australian-grown Black Lip Rock Oysters could be on the menu by next Christmas, thanks to a Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia-funded project, which has officially wrapped up in northern Western Australia.

Around 700,000 oysters have been transferred from the CRCNA and the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to the project’s commercial partner Maxima Pearling Company, who will take on the next phase of work translating the three years of research and development into delivering locally grown, restaurant-quality Black Lip Rock Oysters from their site at Cossack.

Maxima’s General Manager Steven Gill said they hope to have oysters on local menus within 12 months.

CRCNA Chair, Ms Sheriden Morris said the fact that Maxima is implementing the research outcomes to grow a new industry highlights the importance of industry-led R&D.

“This project is a clear example of how industry and science can work together to resolve long-standing challenges and deliver commercial outcomes with real economic impact,” she said.

While Federal Minister for Northern Australia, Madeleine King said the industry has the potential to support hundreds of jobs and create hundreds of millions of dollars of additional economic output in Northern Australia.

“The Albanese Government is committed to supporting industry-led research and development that boosts economic growth in Northern Australia and this investment via the CRCNA is a great example of that.”

WA Minister for Fisheries and Regional Development, Don Punch said there is a lot of potential in the regions with exciting work being done to grow emerging aquaculture industries including tropical rock oysters and seaweed production.

The Western Australian Tropical Rock Oyster project was focused on using wild broodstock for breeding at DPIRD’s Hillarys marine shellfish hatchery and growing-out the juveniles at trial sites at Cossacks and Cone Bay.

DPIRD have also developed standard guidelines on the best ways to farm tropical rock oysters in Northern Australia with the aim of attracting potential investment to help grow the emerging industry.

The WA project is part of a larger consortium with researchers from the Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC), the Yagbani Aboriginal Corporation and the Anindilyakwa Land Council in the Northern Territory, working collaboratively to share knowledge and lessons about their projects. The Northern Territory project is still underway, having secured a second round of funding from the CRCNA.

Media contact

Sarah Docherty, CRCNA Senior Project Manager | 0429 770 796

Belinda Carlson, CRCNA Communications | 0486 012 149