Oysters are missing for Canberra as Christmas approaches | Canberra Times

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Canberrans have been urged to get their orders early and oysters are expected to be in short supply this Christmas. Oyster production has been halted at one of Australia’s largest suppliers in southern Australia, and estuaries have been closed along the south coast, leaving supplies of the country’s favorite molluscs extensive. Heavy rainfall throughout November has closed waterways along the coast, and freshwater runoff could degrade the quality of oysters and introduce potentially harmful bacteria. Fishco CEO John Fragopoulos said he was “struggling” to find quality oysters, and he feared there might not be enough on hand this Christmas. For hungry customers, the situation simply depends “on the weather,” he said. READ MORE: The Fyshwick-based market sold between 7,000 and 8,000 oysters during the festive season last year. Particularly in demand were the Sydney stone oysters and the Pacific oysters grown along the south coast. Although the owner of the company has ordered thousands of oysters, he insists that they will be sent back to suppliers, if not of the best quality. Fragopoulos said a good oyster was full-bodied and cream-colored with minimal black or dark edges. Batemans Bay oyster farmer Jade Norris hoped Christmas would be business as usual. While sales were down for Oyster Shed during the COVID-19 lockdown, Mrs Norris expects a busy season if the rain holds out. “We do not want rain over Christmas,” she said. “We are addicted to tourism, and last year was the craziest Christmas we’ve had, and the first time we’ve ever had to turn people away.” If the weather is good for us, we expect [sales] to go ballistic. “Sally Mclean, who runs Jim Wild’s Oysters at Greenwell Point, crosses her fingers in the hope of” mother nature stops the rain. “The oyster farmer said the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven rivers had been closed for the past two weeks, could continue to care for the oysters, but they were not suitable for sale.Mrs Mclean explained that oysters were filter feeders and absorbed any contaminants in the water.The estuary only reopens when the rain stops and a series of test results get it all clear from NSW Food Authority. “We hope we will have enough supplies for Christmas,” she said. “It’s a bit of a terrible thing happening.” Ms Mclean said the last two years had been difficult as “horrific” forest fires, floods and COVID-19 ravaged the industry. In 2019, floods washed ash, debris and burnt material directly into rivers, decimating oyster crops along the coast. “When the rain first came, it was a disaster zone in the river,” Mclean said. For now is all the farmer can do is “hope and pray that we do not get too much rain”. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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