Project status:
Research objectives:

Identify suitable site for oyster farming.
Species identification.
Assess optimal growing conditions and methods.
Address cyclone risk.
Ensure food safety for human consumption.

Project length:
2 Years



Pilbara Rock Oyster Trial

The Tropical Rock Oyster Research and Development trial in the Pilbara was established in 2017 and was the first step towards developing a new aquaculture industry to diversify and grow the local economy and create new jobs.

Working together with government, industry and Traditional Owners, we set up a trial oyster farm at Flying Foam Passage alongside our existing pearling lease and managed the grow-out of more than 120,000 oysters.

What did we achieve?

 A number of key outcomes were realised as part of this trial project:

  • Classification of the trial site as a Harvest Control Area under the WA Shellfish Quality Assurance Program
  • Site selection criteria established to minimise the impact from tropical cyclones on oyster production gear and stock
  • Rock Oyster spat can be produced in commercial quantities in a hatchery
  • Rock Oyster mortality rates in culture are very low
  • Rock Oysters can be grown in subtidal and intertidal infrastructure
  • Rock Oyster (ongoing) selection program has identified which species are not a suitable for commercial production due to heavy shell growth with poor shape
  • Wild spat collection of Black Lipped Rock Oysters have shown good survival rates, encouraging growth rates and produce a marketable shell shape and meat to shell ratio. 


What’s next?

The encouraging results achieved through this project, along with the significant positive stakeholder support, have provided Maxima with confidence to develop and extend the research. A new three-year research and development project expanding across six sites in the Pilbara bolstered by additional government and industry funding is now underway. Read more about the trial expansion.