Oyster farmers take on marine debris in the Nambucca River

Port Stephen oyster farmers at an earlier event down south
Port Stephen oyster farmers at an earlier event down south

Local oyster farmers will descend the Nambucca River's banks tomorrow (Tuesday) for a mass seafood industry-led clean-up event in celebration of a new seafood industry initiative dubbed 'Tide to Tip', organised by OceanWatch, Australia.

Out on the water every day, oyster farmers have an intimate knowledge of their local environment, and regularly pick up rubbish they find floating in the estuary.

Right now however the industry is scaling up its efforts to do their bit, with oyster farmers organising to meet up with other growers and target marine debris hotspots.

Local oyster farmer, James Ford from Nambucca River Oysters, said it would be the first official river clean up the industry has done in the Nambucca River.

"We are hopeful this is the beginning of a series of annual clean ups for years to come," James said.

We'd love to see the initiative grow and involve other waterway users and boaters to bring them on board at a larger scale.

James Ford

"These events are so important for the care and health of our rivers and awareness across the industry and community. We're excited to be involved in the inaugural event and for more to come."

'Tide to Tip' is being launched today (Monday) with over 250 oyster farmers involved in clean-ups across the country. Not only will oyster farmers clean-up the area, participants will also do an audit of the rubbish collected.

A summary of the waste will then be documented and analysed by the Australian Marine Debris Database - a program run by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

OceanWatch Australia, organisers of the program, hope this is the first of many large-scale clean-ups led by the seafood industry that not only provides a way for fishers and farmers to give back to the estuaries on which their livelihoods depend, but helps to ensure Australian waterways remain pristine and healthy for generations to come.

Over the past few years the oyster industry in the Nambucca River has sold over half a million oysters to hungry shellfish lovers. With seven oyster farms perched on the banks of the river, the industry generates dozens of jobs and is an important part of the local economy.

The Tide to Tip program is supported by OceanWatch Australia, Clean Up Australia Day, NSW Local Land Services and the NSW Landcare Program. The NSW Landcare Program is a partnership between Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government.

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