Climate Ready Aquaculture

INCENTIVES PROGRAM NOW OPEN

The Climate Ready Aquaculture Incentives Program supports oyster farmers through develop and adopt new management practices that increase their resilience to weather and climate variability. Grants of up to $5,000 are available and the amount applied for must be matched in cash by the applicant. Oyster farmers must have completed or commenced a farm profile with Hunter LLS to be eligible and the program aims to improve both business viability and climate adaptation.

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2021 and annual funding rounds will continue for the next 2 years. The Climate Ready Aquaculture project is delivered by Hunter LLS, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

PROGRAM GUIDELINES

APPLICATION FORM

For more information contact:

Brian Hughes
Estuary and Marine Officer
Mobile 0428293021 or Email: brian.hughes@lls.nsw.gov.au
Rye Gollan
Land Services Officer NRM Projects

Mobile: 0468 325 125  or Email: rye.gollan@lls.nsw.gov.au

BACKGROUND

Since 2015, Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) and MidCoast Council have been working with the oyster and fishing industries to understand the changing nature of Wallis Lake and develop practical adaptation responses. Hunter LLS has now delivered the first year of its Climate Ready Aquaculture project funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare program. Over the next four years Hunter LLS will help oyster farmers plan their adaptation to climate change and then implement in-water changes through small grants. Projects in Wallis Lake, Manning River and Port Stephens estuaries to date have reduced the use of tar-treated timber, reduced waste generation and helped protect seagrass habitats.

Uniquely, the Climate Ready Aquaculture project is helping the oyster industry and fishing industries co-adapt by monitoring how changes to infrastructure affects fish habitat values and by creating new habitat. Both industries have been working with Hunter LLS, MidCoast Council and Taree Indigenous Development and Employment (TIDE) to construct an oyster reef in the Wallamba River to protect the riverbank on Gereeba Island. Oyster reefs have been decimated across the world by destructive harvesting practices, poor water quality, diseases and pests and there are now many projects across the country and the world restoring these ecosystems.

Oyster Regen Project

Initial bank protection work at Gereeba Island using coir logs and mangrove planting was only partially successful with most mangroves surviving but the coir logs disintegrating or being washed away. To ensure the young mangroves weren’t washed away the project trialled new ways of placing waste shell from oyster production along the bank to provide wave protection. Live oysters harvested from oyster leases were also added to encourage and possibly accelerate the creation of a living structure. Slowing erosion of the riverbank will reduce the amount of sediment entering the Wallamba River and improve water quality. Oysters are filter feeders and that filtration also helps improve water quality. Oyster reefs also provide good habitat for a range of fish and other marine life, including species targeted by recreational and commercial fishers such as bream and mullet.

Oyster Regeneration Project

Site monitoring is being done by Hunter LLS, TIDE and the University of Newcastle and results are promising with live oysters surviving and growing and the structure continuing to protect the young mangroves and the riverbank. Some mangroves were burnt during the bushfires and the site was flooded during February 2020 but both the structure and live oysters have survived. it is hoped that the oysters at Gereeba Island will survive and thrive alongside mangroves with both providing habitat for fish and invertebrates. LLS and Council will be using these methods at additional sites along the Wallamba River and will be working with the University of the Sunshine Coast and DPI Fisheries to map existing oyster reefs, better understand how fish utilise different estuarine habitats and move between them and prioritise future restoration efforts.

Oyster Regen Project after bushfire

Click here to view a short highlight video of the Oyster Regeneration Project
Click here to view the full video of the Oyster Regeneration Project

This project is supported by Hunter Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and MidCoast Council.

This project is supported by Hunter Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and MidCoast Council.

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