Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oysters no more

Photo from the train: Hawkesbury River with oyster stakes
Photo from the train: Hawkesbury River, looking south
Travelling by train north from Sydney takes you along the lovely Hawkesbury River. It is a train trip I make frequently and as we roll past the  oyster farming structures that poke out of the water at low tide I wonder about the future of humanity.

Ten years ago 28 oyster farmers farmed Sydney Rock Oysters in these waters but they were destroyed  by QX disease in 2004. Eight farmers started again farming pacific oysters. The number grew and grew and by last year there were 15 oyster businesses operating in the area and there were always boats out among the wooden stakes harvesting oysters. Earlier this year Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome wiped the oysters out and now the boats are gone.

The Hawkesbury oyster industry is one example of many that illustrates what happens when we create imbalances in nature. Are we capable of learning the lessons nature is trying to teach us?

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