Oyster bounty from South Coast waters unlikely to be affected by ash

Lisa Herbert 7 May 2020 24
South coast oysters

The clever oyster seems to be efficiently filtering the ash from fires. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

A layer of black ash from bushfires has settled on the far south coast, coating cars, gardens, streets, homes. It has been floating ominously on the surface of our oceans and settling slowly onto the seafloor. But it’s not as bad as it looks.

News from the NSW Food Authority’s Shellfish Program, and feedback from many growers on our South Coast, indicates there are no immediate issues regarding the effects of ash on our oysters.

Growers will continue their constant, regular testing, and also “event testing”. Many will commence harvesting again this week.

Greg Carton of Broadwater Oysters has opened and tasted many of his crop and there doesn’t seem to be any ash in the guts or the gills of these efficient molluscs.

“They’re amazing, so fingers crossed,” he says.

Gary and Jo Rodely’s shop Tathra Oysters is open and trading. Gary and his son Sam have been out on the farm and re-commenced harvesting Thursday. This is great news for the industry and the locals.

Gary Rodely of Tathra Oysters

Gary Rodely of Tathra Oysters checks his crop. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

It’s not easy for growers to predict what might happen with the oysters. As Gary says, “there are not many precedents for this, so we were all unsure. We have heard of oysters dying with exposure to fires very close to the farms”.

“We weren’t harvesting because of the ash in the water, and we were hoping that a few flushes of the lake will clean everything out. That has proven to be the case!

“We’ll make sure everything’s right; at least it’s not an issue like E-coli. The long-term effects of the nitrogen in the ash may mean future algal blooms, but we constantly test for that.”

More good news is that as they are grown in open water so the mussels produced in Eden Mussels’ beds will be affected even less than estuarine-grown oysters.

Greg Carton of Pambula’s Broadwater Oysters says this year’s season is “busted”.

“Usually at this time of year we are dealing full-on with tourists. We’re losing around $100k of trade over this period. We’ve asked our staff to take their holidays, and anyway, we’ll be home this weekend preparing to defend our property.”

The Broadwater Oyster team

The Broadwater Oyster team in happier times at the Narooma Oyster Festival 2019. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

Greg and his partner Sue McIntyre’s property lies in the path of the Border Fire. As well as business woes, they are worried about today’s temperatures and wind.

With no end to the South Coast’s tourist ban in sight, oyster producers have been giving away many opened oysters.

Jacqui Smith of Wheelers Restaurant was out and about hand delivering around 80 dozen oysters to people in the Merimbula area over the weekend, including evacuees and “people working hard in the community”.

Gary and Jo Rodely took 25 dozen oysters to the Tathra RFS depot recently and delivered many to the Bega evacuation centre. They were extremely well received. “One guy queuing for a meal said to me it’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for him,” says Gary.

“If you see our sign out, it means we’ve tested everything and we’re good to go!” It’s a sentiment echoed by Greg Carton and the team at Broadwater Oysters.

“We have great faith in the Shellfish Program, but it’s going to take a long time for people to get their confidence back,” says Greg. “We’d appreciate as much support as possible.”

Many locals are out spending money on food and goods in our towns.

“There are people coming in, saying they hadn’t really thought of oysters but saw our sign and decided to spend. It’s great that people are shopping locally,” enthuses Jo Rodely.

From the Eden Mussel beds in Eden, along the coastal estuaries to the Pacific Oyster farms of the Shoalhaven, there are oyster farmers needing us to eat as many of these clever little molluscs as possible. I’ve said it before, I’m happy to take one or two for the team!

Original Article published by Lisa Herbert on About Regional.

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24 Responses to Oyster bounty from South Coast waters unlikely to be affected by ash
Bernie Ryan Bernie Ryan 9:07 am 14 Jan 20

Carrie Walters if you see any oysters on your way back I’m happy to buy some for the cause if you’re happy to bring them home ? ☺️❤️

Eve Cullen Eve Cullen 10:38 pm 13 Jan 20

Boaz Timothy rua great news!!!!!! 😁

Viv Wang Viv Wang 4:31 pm 13 Jan 20

Livy CY our time to shine

    Livy CY Livy CY 4:51 pm 13 Jan 20

    Viv will they ship to Canberra? We need to investigate!

Rod Holesgrove Rod Holesgrove 10:25 pm 12 Jan 20

The Canberra Times today said exactly the opposite!

David Brown David Brown 9:35 am 12 Jan 20

I wonder what will happen to the price?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:24 am 12 Jan 20

Not at $25 a dozen, thanks.

Marietta McGregor Marietta McGregor 9:00 am 12 Jan 20

Such good news!

Karina Leotta Karina Leotta 11:32 pm 11 Jan 20

We should visit Ella Pipp

Neil Willis Neil Willis 11:13 pm 11 Jan 20

Dianne Willis time to go to the coast for a local

Feast 😁

Michelle Chiang Michelle Chiang 10:49 pm 11 Jan 20

Shirley Huang you should go help

Olympia Muir-Williams Olympia Muir-Williams 10:45 pm 11 Jan 20

Jordan Williams Johnny Muir wanna do oysters?

Helen Goddard Helen Goddard 10:26 pm 11 Jan 20

HAPPY TO EAT OYSTERS EVERY SINGLE MEAL! Hey Anne Cahill Lambert Anne Hickey?!

    Bakedbytt Bakedbytt 11:02 pm 11 Jan 20

    Helen Goddard Can I join you?!

    Bakedbytt Bakedbytt 11:03 pm 11 Jan 20

    Helen Goddard That’s me Kathryn D, who sometimes ends up as my youngest’s baking account...don’t ask me how!

    Helen Goddard Helen Goddard 11:10 pm 11 Jan 20

    Bakedbytt OK ... only if you behave. Oh wait ... hell yeah!!!

    Bakedbytt Bakedbytt 11:18 pm 11 Jan 20

    Helen Goddard Diamonds are not known for behaving, in case you somehow accidentally stumbled upon a rare one!

    Leigh Hillman Leigh Hillman 7:36 pm 12 Jan 20

    Helen Goddard Send them down here too, please.

Lou Brooks Lou Brooks 10:14 pm 11 Jan 20

Annie Visser time to go buy some oysters 🦪

Paul South Paul South 9:51 pm 11 Jan 20

2 doz for tomorrow .where can i pick them up ?

Maria DeAngelis Maria DeAngelis 9:09 pm 11 Jan 20

Mmmmm, smoked oysters!! Love them!!

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 8:08 pm 11 Jan 20

I'll help! Going to the coast next week and I am willing to eat oysters every day for the cause. ;)

Tamara Davis Tamara Davis 8:04 pm 11 Jan 20

Rhiannon Skeen woot woot birthday dinner sorted

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