Albany’s Oyster Harbour has installed a sustainable, sea-based floating nursery for shellfish called FLUPSY, which uses a pump to push seawater through mesh pots allowing the seed to feed on phytoplankton.
FLUPSY is set to help boost shellfish aquaculture production in the region.
The FLUPSY is a FLoating UPweller SYstem where shellfish seed can grow inside mesh pots. A pump generates the upward current of seawater through the mesh, so the seed can feed on food particles and phytoplankton floating in the water.
The Western Australian Government provided $125,000 through the Western Australia Recovery Plan to install two FLUPSYs, the first in Albany and a second later this year in the Perth metropolitan area that will be a saucer scallop nursery.
Because the food oyster seed consume occurs naturally in seawater, the FLUPSY eliminates the need for farmers to use supplementary food. FLUPSYs, when located and operated correctly, can provide a sustainable and efficient nursery environment for shellfish.
The system built by DPIRD is one of the first large-scale FLUPSYs in Australia. Its production capacity is estimated at 5-10 million 5mm rock oyster seed per year, and trials are underway to refine operational processes in Albany in collaboration with Harvest Road Oceans.
Western Australia Fisheries Minister, Don Punch, said, “The McGowan Government is supporting infrastructure investment to help develop and expand Western Australia’s aquaculture industry – which continues to deliver new regional jobs and opportunities.
“Albany’s new Floating Upweller System, or FLUPSY as it’s known, will help oyster spat to feed and grow in a very efficient and sustainable nursery, ensuring the timely supply of oyster seed to commercial shellfish operators.
“FLUPSYs will also play an important role in other emerging shellfish operations, such as tropical rock oysters in northern Western Australia.
“The department is also continuing to develop the FLUPSY concept for use in saucer scallop nurseries to provide cost-effective stock enhancement opportunities for wild fisheries to mitigate the impact of marine heat waves on valuable fisheries resources.”
Albany MLA, Rebecca Stephens, said, “The installation of the FLUPSY is a welcome addition to Albany’s aquaculture industry and will increase the production of shellfish in Oyster Harbour.
“Albany has some of the most pristine waters for aquaculture in Australia.
“Shellfish aquaculture will deliver local jobs, drive more business for local suppliers and contractors, while having the added environmental benefit of increasing the water quality in Oyster Harbour.”