In recent years there have been various attempts in Tasmania and South Australia to culture the native (flat) oyster, Ostrea angasi, but they have never developed into a major industry, largely because Pacific oysters have been easier and faster to grow. However, with the recent outbreak of OsHV-1 virus causing Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS), a number of oyster farmers have expressed interest in culturing Angasi oysters. Research is needed to support this developing industry, including determining the best husbandry techniques, influence of different environmental conditions, and disease management (such as Bonamiosis). In addition, this project will investigate methods, such as modified atmospheric packaging, to extend the current short shelf life (2- 3 days) of 0. angasi, which has severely limited market potential.
Additionally, over the last decade there has also been increasing interest in restoring natural O.angasi reef habitat in estuaries and bays of southern Australia. Before European colonisation, this oyster formed extensive and dense reef habitat; however, early settlers indiscriminately overfished these reefs and this habitat is now considered to be functionally extinct in Australia. In Tasmania small and patchy low relief O.angasi reefs (beds) exist close to several Pacific oyster farms and farmers are keen to restore these reefs in conjunction with efforts to develop the O.angasi aquaculture industry. These two activities can support one another as the same resources are required, such as a source of 0. angasi spat that can be ongrown under different semi-controlled husbandry and environmental conditions. This project will add to existing knowledge of O.angasi reproduction, seed collection, predation, disease management and husbandry techniques under different conditions.