In the words of Jon Poke, Chair of the Tasmania Shellfish Executive Council – “What a great weekend! My congratulations and thanks to the Bruny Island Shellfish Growers Association, Jeff Whayman, Joe Bennett, and RDS Partners for organising and hosting a very successful conference. Thanks must also go to all the growers that made the effort to attend; your participation was essential.

The weekend of 11 – 13 October saw over 90 growers, suppliers, regulators and mainland colleagues of the Tasmanian oyster sector converge on Adventure Bay for the annual shellfish futures conference.

With the theme of “What happens when shit happens”, delegates took the time to collectively reflect on and learn from the series of hits taken by individual growers and areas during the year.

During the past 12 months, Tasmanian oyster growers have had to contend with fires, poor water quality, harmful microalgae, the spread of POMS within NSW waters and imminent changes to TSQAP’s structure, function and cost base. A daunting list, but one which needed to be held up to the light as an industry, so the focus could move from “what happened?” to “what are we going to do about it?”.

A feature of the early presentations was the open and honest “first-person” stories generously told by the likes of the Pittwater growers, Justin Goc, Phil Lamb and Dave Barker. Dave hails from NSW and has the dubious honour of owning the first oyster farm in Australia to be hit by POMS.

These personal stories of the hardship faced and the spirit with which it was faced provided equal measures of reality and inspiration to the packed conference. It was this spirit of “getting on with it” which framed the remainder of the conference: intense discussions about what is needed from industry to respond to the risks being faced, and how this is going to be implemented.

Visit our presentations section to access all the presentation from the 3 day event. all available presentations. Those who weren’t able to be there will be able to get a taste for the depth and breadth of content from these files, and those who were there will be able to refresh their memories on details as needed.

This year, shellfish futures was designed to provide the background for an industry forum, which was held as the final plenary session. This forum was held to canvass views on the structure and funding required to support the Tasmanian oyster sector into the next few tears of change and challenge.

Co-chaired by Jon Poke and Bob Cox, the forum discussed possible models to provide funding to support the work of industry representational bodies and options to rationalise and make more efficient industry representational (R&D, advocacy) structures.

While noting that outcomes from this forum would require formal ratification through TSEC and TORC, the forum unanimously endorsed the amalgamation of TSEC and TORC to provide industry R&D representation and advocacy and establishment of a Tasmanian levy structure to provide assured funding to support R&D and advocacy activities.

This work is ongoing and will be the focus of much industry discussion during the next few months.

During the course of shellfish futures 2013, the efforts of those who have given their time, energy and expertise voluntarily in the interests of this industry were recognised.

Industry thanks went to current and past members of the TORC and TSEC Boards for their continued input of additional time and effort in the interests of all who grow shellfish in Tasmania, with special acclamation given for the herculean efforts of Hayden Dyke, Phil Lamb and Jon Poke.