First Nations knowledge facilitates oyster play in the heart of iron ore

A set of edible oysters hatching in the heart of Australia’s iron ore has pushed back its product launch date as the project nears a ‘critical moment’ in its three-year research journey.

The Maxima Pearling Company-led project, which drew on First Nations knowledge of Murujuga ngurra and local rock oysters, aims to have the product ready for market by the end of the year. year.

It was hoped that this could be achieved by Easter, but work trials to understand a new variety of oysters delayed the product launch.

Maxima’s project manager, Steven Gill, said, aided by the traditional owners’ knowledge, the project team had gained a solid understanding of growth and survival rates over the past three years.

“When I talk about knowing when the animals are in condition, that knowledge belonged to the traditional owners,” he said.

“We understand what the ideal conditions are for a site, we worked with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to combine our knowledge with their knowledge of the country to find the most suitable sites.

“It’s brand new – no one has done this species, so we’re leading the way and getting a much better understanding of animal growth rates and seasonality.”

Mr Gill said training and career pathways would be developed for young people to work in the industry under the project.

He said Maxima is still researching a name for the product before it hits the market.

Currently it has been dubbed the coral oyster, but Mr Gill said there would be “smarter people” who could come up with a better name for the unique Western Australian product.

The Pilbara oyster would be the first major new variety to hit the market since the Forrest-backed Akoya in 2020.

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