Tropical rock oyster program growing jobs in Aboriginal communities

This season’s third hatchery spawn of Blacklip Rock Oysters was recently completed at Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC).

DAC has produced approximately 12,000 juvenile rock oysters this season as part of a program to help coastal Aboriginal communities commercially farm the oysters.

Mature tropical rock oysters were collected from the wild and spawned at DAC by Department of Primary Industry and Resources aquaculture staff.

The oysters will soon be transported to communities on the Tiwi and South Goulbourn Islands where the developing tropical rock oyster industry is creating jobs for local people in those communities.

DAC has been involved with the Aboriginal economic development project, focussing on tropical rock oyster aquaculture, since 2009.

The project is now in its second phase and was able to progress due to continued support shown by the Warruwi and Pirlangimpi communities on South Goulbourn and Tiwi Islands.

From spawning, the larvae take about 21 days to develop into spat, or juvenile oysters, and can then be relocated to the Aboriginal communities.

DAC is working with many project partners including Territory Natural Resource Management, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries who developed methods for producing Sydney Rock Oysters, the University of the Sunshine Coasts Tropical Aquaculture Unit and Charles Darwin University.

Juvenile rock oysters in tanks at Darwin Aquaculture Centre
These juvenile rock oysters will soon be on their way to coastal Aboriginal communities