Sydney Rock, Pacific, Flat, Milky and Blacklip Oyster
Australian oyster growers farm three main species of oyster in coastal waters: the Sydney Rock oyster (Sacostrea glomerata), the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), and the Native / Flat oyster (Ostrea angasi). The Milky oyster (Sacostrea cucullata) and the Blacklip oyster (Striostria mytiloides) are also found in small volumes.
Sydney Rock oysters are cultured in estuarine areas and rivers of New South Wales and Queensland, and at Albany in Western Australia.
The Pacific Oyster, a native species of Japan, is the most commonly cultured oyster in the world, representing 98 per cent of world-cultured production in 2000. The species was first introduced to Tasmania in the 1940, and later into South Australia (1969). Tasmania and South Australia are the main Pacific oyster growing states. In NSW, Pacific oysters are classified as a noxious species under the Fisheries Management Act; however an increasing number of NSW estuaries are gaining approval to grow reproductively sterile, triploid Pacific oysters.
The Native or Flat Oyster occurs naturally along the entire southern Australian coast, including Tasmania, from about the Swan River in Western Australia to northern New South Wales. Flat oysters are mainly farmed in NSW, although in recent years Tasmania and South Australian growers are also trialling the cultivation of this species.
The Milky Oyster and the Blacklip Oyster are produced in north Queensland on oyster leases ranging from Hervey Bay to Mackay.
Oysters are not fed or treated with any chemicals throughout their lifetime in the water or after harvest. In their lifetime they will be graded and culled a number of times.