The first recorded history of Oyster farming in Tasmania was the establishment of 33 oyster farms in 1887. These farms were set up to grow the native or flat oyster, known as the Angasi.
The Angasi oyster was also dredged and supplied interstate and was a valuable source of cheap protein in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The Pacific oyster was imported by the CSIRO into Tasmania as a replacement for the Angasi oyster in 1947 following the second world war and released into Tasmanian waterways into both the North and South of the state.
Farming of pacific oysters started in the 1960’s with farmers placing catching sticks into well known spat fall areas, with the Tamar and Port Sorell rivers being the most productive. In the late 60’s the spat fall from this method declined markedly.
Hatchery trials were conducted in the early 70’s and the first commercial oyster hatchery was built in 1979 although it was not till the mid 1980’s that a regular supply of oyster seed to farmers was guaranteed.
These hatcheries produce single seed oysters making growing much easier. The spat were previously caught on sticks and had to be separated from each other and off the stick. Oyster seed are now delivered from hatcheries all separated at anywhere from 4mm in size upwards.
For more information and a video
Oysters Australia website for recipes, opening instructions and more