High hopes for oys­ter project

Pilbara News - - Opinion - Peter Long Peter Long is Mayor of the City of Kar­ratha.

Kar­ratha may have an oys­ter in­dus­try if a $300,000 pi­lot project funded two-thirds by the Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion with Kim­ber­ley pearling com­pany Max­ima Pearling and oth­ers proves to be a suc­cess.

Max­ima, in a joint ven­ture with tra­di­tional own­ers Mu­ru­juga Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion, is able to re­pur­pose its pearling lease af­ter changes to State leg­is­la­tion.

The trial is to show whether grow­ing oys­ters in the ar­chi­pel­ago is fea­si­ble and that lev­els of the heavy met­als found nat­u­rally in the en­vi­ron­ment are ac­cept­able.

A joint ven­ture with the tra­di­tional own­ers would be ben­e­fi­cial for not only em­ploy­ment and the com­mu­nity, but for the mar­ket­ing of the oys­ters, too.

Dr Wayne O’Con­nor, an oys­ter ex­pert and se­nior prin­ci­pal re­search sci­en­tist with the NSW De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries, said he was feel­ing pos­i­tive about the de­vel­op­ment of an in­dus­try.

While he ini­tially had con­cerns about large tidal move­ments and

cy­clones, he was con­fi­dent it was worth­while re­search­ing oys­ter grow­ing in the area and that such ini­tial re­search into the growth and health of oys­ters would be rel­a­tively sim­ple and in­ex­pen­sive.

If the ini­tial tri­als are suc­cess­ful, a full-scale de­vel­op­ment will be un­der­taken.

The ex­perts con­sid­ered that a $30 mil­lion oys­ter in­dus­try could be es­tab­lished in Kar­ratha, em­ploy­ing, in the long-term, up to 300 peo­ple.

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