Have your say on Gippsland Lakes oyster trial

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PEOPLE who live, work and play in the Gippsland Lakes are being encouraged to complete a short online survey to share their views on the native oyster aquaculture trial, set to commence next year.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said the trial is a partnership with the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) to grow Sydney rock and Angasi oysters, both of which are abundant and native to the Gippsland Lakes system.

“This could see Victorian-grown Sydney rock oysters back on the menu for seafood consumers, which would be a huge win for the state,” Dowling said.

“The trial will assess the viability, growth rates and eating qualities of the two species at five sites around Flannagans and Rigbys islands, west of Lakes Entrance.

“A native oyster industry in the Gippsland Lakes would create jobs for Gunaikurnai, support regional tourism and supply fresh, local and sustainable seafood.

“The Gunaikurnai have a strong interest in a native shellfish industry whereby its people can work on Country and maintain a meaningful connection to land and water.

“Existing oyster aquaculture interstate is worth more than $100 million, so if the trial is successful and permanent oyster farming becomes established, it could lead to significant economic prosperity for towns around the Gippsland Lakes.

“Oyster aquaculture isn’t new to Victoria with Angasi oysters are already grown by several licensed farmers closer to Melbourne in Port Phillip and Western Port.”

Dowling said the online survey contains only nine questions and should take less than two minutes to complete.

The VFA says the survey results will give fisheries managers and GLaWAC a much greater understanding of existing user groups, what they value most about the areas in and around the sites, and how their interests align with an oyster growing trial.

The survey is open until close of business 16 January 2022 and can be completed at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GippsOysters.

Questions about the survey and feedback on the oyster trial can also be directed to haveyoursay@vfa.vic.gov.au or by calling 03 9658 4737.

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