Shoalhaven Aquaculture Round-table Meeting

Shoalhaven Aquaculture Round-table Meeting

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

The oyster growers in the Shoalhaven/Crookhaven estuary have had continuous problems from unfenced cattle accessing the waterway and grazing on mangroves which have had negative impacts on local water quality by adding pollution as well as damaging estuarine environments including mangroves and salt marshes. The areas are also adjacent to oyster leases of local oyster businesses and can cause significant problems interfering with oyster aquaculture in the area, contributing to higher testing load and potentially closing their harvest area, preventing the harvesting and selling of oysters.

The solution

To help address the ongoing issue of cattle pollution and other local issues, the Local Landcare Coordinator helped facilitate an Aquaculture roundtable meeting with the local council, Shoalwater, NSW DPI, NSW Food Authority, Local Land Services, and other stakeholders, including cattle farmers. This involves organising dates & venues, inviting organisations, setting the agenda in partnership with the local oyster industry and writing up minutes. These meetings were frequently held prior to COVID, but since the pandemic have fallen on the wayside. By organising these regular meetings with the council and other key stakeholders, it allows for both parties to communicate about current and emerging issues, favors knowledge transfer and can resolve issues in the future.

To feed the issues higher up, OceanWatch has also held other meetings with NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Marine Estate Management Authority and is continuing to seek out funding opportunities to help address some of these ongoing issues.

The impact

This involvement has helped re-establish regular meetings between the local oyster industry and council, as well as other stakeholders and has allowed farmers to voice their concerns as a unified community. The agenda for the roundtable meeting is typically organised a week or two beforehand at a closed meeting between the Local Landcare Coordinator and the oyster industry. This allows farmers to discuss issues internally and have frank discussions about the best way to approach government agencies. The meetings will hopefully lead to action being taken to resolving some of the water quality issues in the Shoalhaven/Crookhaven estuary and leverage funding to find solutions for the ongoing pollution.

Key facts

  • To promote a direct communication channel between the council and the local oyster industry.
  • Discuss pertinent and emerging topics and challenges facing the local industry that need a multi stakeholder approach to resolve, e.g., ongoing cattle pollution degrading the estuaries water quality and impacting oyster businesses.
  • The meetings build relationships between stakeholders with an interest in the health of the Shoalhaven River estuary.

Project Partners