Upskilling NSW Oyster Farmers

Free training secured for 156 oyster farmers

Upskilling NSW Oyster Farmers

Free training secured for 156 oyster farmers

Building our Future -


The issue

All domestic commercial vessels in Australia are now guided by national legislation and regulated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Previously the oyster industry in NSW was governed by Roads & Maritime Services (RMS), and the move to new national legislation has shifted the operational goal posts for oyster farmers. They now require a suite a new safety gear, and crewing tickets to continue doing what they've always been doing. Many in the industry have received conflicting advice from agencies, and there was general confusion on what is required under the new national law. Low grade coxswains tickets are a new requirement,  with training courses costing around ~$1,000.  

The solution

Given the confusion in industry and conflicting advice being distributed by different agencies, OceanWatch approached AMSA and helped coordinate a number of face-to-face, drop-in sessions for oyster farmers. Two knowledgeable AMSA employees travelled the coast, setting up in various oyster sheds on their way. The sessions were publicised through the Local Landcare Coordinators networks, with farmers dropping in to discuss their personal requirements with AMSA staff on a 1-to-1 basis. The sessions revealed a large number of farmers would require low-grade coxswains tickets to continue farmers under the new law. Hearing this, OceanWatch approached the NSW Fishing Industry Training Committee, and spruiked the concept of dedicated oyster farmers training courses in 'industry-friendly' locations, with a possible discount given the number of farmers being directed to this course, and to this training provider.   

The impact

The AMSA drop-in sessions were incredibly popular. Being located in oyster farmers sheds they were accessible to industry, and being able to discuss the requirements of individual businesses was very helpful for farmers. Over 100 farmers (35% of NSW oyster farming businesses) received advice through these sessions.

The low-grade coxswains training courses were another huge success. The NSW Fishing Industry Training Committee were able to secure funding to fully offset the cost these courses. 12 training courses were organised, and with a max. course size of 13, all spots were quickly snapped up after being publicised through the Local Landcare Coordinator networks. In total, 156 oyster farmers are in the process of obtaining their low grade coxswains ticket at no cost (a potential industry saving of $156,000). Training courses are being run September through to November. There is the possibility of organising additional courses if there is demand.   

Key facts

  • Local Landcare Coordinator connects industry with government agency to quell rumours and distribute accurate information
  • Organisation of 12 free training courses (for 156 oyster farmers) to upskill the industry and ensure compliance with new national legislation - potentially saving industry $156,000

Project Partners