Drops in oyster production and other fisheries have been observed in Wallis Lake and nearby NSW estuaries over the last 10 years.
To understand the factors driving drops in production, and to guide investment in adapting their farming practices to improve production into the future, a partnership led by Local Land Services involving MidCoast Council, oyster farmers, professional fishers and research organisations has been developed.
To build a better understanding of how Estuary processes are impacting on seafood production, this partnership has funded three discrete information gathering and research projects:
1. Developing an understanding of Estuary processes by collecting information at a finer scale on temperature, salinity and tidal movements using data loggers at key locations. This project will provide reference information that can assist with future research.
2. Understanding how Wallis Lake has changed, through the collection of oral histories from oyster farmers and professional fishers. This information will be used to target research and other programs to assist oyster and fishing industries to adapt.
3. Establishing if oyster farms benefit estuarine fisheries in Wallis Lake. This project involves determining the overall importance of oyster farms to key fish and invertebrate species, exploring the effect of oyster farm removal and construction on fish and invertebrates and assessing the role of farm infrastructure as habitat.
All of the projects listed above are in their initial stages of data collection.