Port Stephens Oyster Industry Staying Strong Through Covid-19

Grower Richard Hamlyn-Harris at his Lemon Tree Passage depot.

 

THE lockdown of interstate and overseas destinations to travellers has given our local oyster industry a boost.

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Holidaymakers have flocked to Port Stephens and other seaside destinations and are determined to enjoy themselves by making the best of the options available to them during the Covid-19 restrictions.

They also eat out in the cities and spend their recreational dollars in fine dining.

Whatever the case, our oyster farmers are achieving good prices for their product and in some cases find it hard to keep up the supply.

But it isn’t all plain sailing as one local grower explains.

“Continuity is everything to us and with shut-downs due to weather events or possible pollution concerns we can find it very difficult to run an effective business,” he stated.

“Should we be out of action in the peak demand weeks leading up to Christmas, our retailers will go elsewhere and just might not come back.

“Our expenses don’t stop and we still have to pay wages and pay other bills without a cash flow,” he said.

Many oyster farmers believe that they collectively need to have more input with the regulatory authorities to work out a better way forward.

The general feeling at the moment is that there is too much of a gap between the growers and those who control their industry.

 

By Geoff WALKER

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