Little pearlers

Green Lifestyle online

Proving that the world is his oyster, farmer Shane Buckley produces the world's first certified-organic Sydney Rock oysters.


Shane Buckley from Wapengo Rocks checking on his organic farmed oysters.


Wapengo Rocks' oysters.

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Global consumption of fish is now more than 150 million tonnes including 60 million from aquaculture, and demands for seafood have now surpassed beef, pork and poultry.

Many environmentalists claim that aquaculture is the best solution to relieve pressure on the wild fish stocks, but it also poses the problems of pollution and disease from unnatural feeding and breeding habits, as well as the threat of introducing feral species. But what if aquaculture was made more sustainable?

A new standard to classify farmed fish as organic has been approved by the Australian Certified Organic Standard, and one farmer has taken the lead. Australian Organic says that mussels and oysters have the strongest potential for organic sea-based operations in Australia.

Late last year, Shane Buckley from Wapengo Rocks became the first Australia Certified Organic producer of Sydney Rock Oysters.

Buckley feels privileged to farm with respect to the estuary in which he operates. “We do simple things, such as reducing our impact on the lake bed allowing the sea grasses to regrow, it is actually good for the oysters and the health of this beautiful estuary,” he says.

“Organic is not really so hard but it does involve a cultural shift. It is an established industry with certain habits and ways of doing things, but because I am a younger grower, and new to the industry, I have found it easy to adopt organic methods.

“For me, organic certification is acknowledgement for the work that we have done to produce oysters in the most sustainable way that we can.”

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) estimates certified organic aquaculture is worth over $500 million dollars internationally producing well over 60,000 tonnes.

For more information, visit: www.wapengorocks.com.au and www.austorganic.com