Hundreds of thousands of oysters dead due to storm in New South Wales, Australia
Livelihoods have been ruined and some oyster lovers will be going without their favourite delicacy as a result of last month’s super storm in the Hunter region.
Mother Nature’s wrath destroyed an estimated $6million worth of stock and infrastructure across the port and in the Hawkesbury River.
Almost all of the area’s 40 growers suffered significant losses that will take years to replace.
“It’s horrific,” Port Stephens Shellfish Committee member Mark Hunter said.
“Everyone’s been affected, some worse than others.”
In addition to wharves, leases and other infrastructure, hundreds of thousands of juvenile Sydney rock oysters were lost.
“It won’t be so much this Christmas but the one after that when there will be a shortage,” Mr Hunter said.
Making matters worse is the fact that growers have not been able to harvest surviving oysters because salinity levels are too low.
Port Stephens growers were tentatively getting back on their feet after a mystery disease wiped out the area’s $5 million Pacific oyster crop in 2013 and 2014.
The latest blow has left many more growers on the brink or ruin.
“We basically just live on the money we have in the bank,” Mr Hunter said.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the government would ensure the affected growers received necessary assistance.
“This has been a testing time for the communities and businesses right across the Hunter and the NSW government is doing everything it can to make sure these communities get back on their feet,” he said.
A suite of assistance measures have been developed to help farmers and producers get back on their feet.
The Natural Disaster Relief Scheme assists primary producers and small business operators affected by flood, fire and storm damage.
This includes loans of up to $130,000.
Courtesy of smh.com.au