HASTINGS oyster farmers will dive in and help clean up local waterways today (February 17) as a part of an OceanWatch Australia campaign.
Local oyster farmers will gather on the foreshore of the Hastings River for the mass industry led clean-up event called Tide to Tip. This is the second year of the event which sees oyster growers lead marine debris clean-ups in estuaries across the state.
Over the past few years the oyster industry in the Hastings River has grown and sold over three and a half million oysters to hungry shellfish lovers. With 20 oyster farms perched on the banks of the river, the industry supports hundreds of jobs and is an important part of the local economy.
Out on the water every day, oyster farmers have an intimate knowledge of their local environment, and regularly collect rubbish they find floating in the estuary.
Tide to Tip not only provides a way for fishers and farmers to give back to the estuaries on which their livelihoods depend but helps to ensure Australian waterways remain pristine and healthy for generations to come.
Local oyster farmer, Dave Saunders from Holiday Coast Oysters, the waterway is everyone's responsibility.
"Farmers are dependent on clean water for the health and condition of our oysters, and everyday we are doing our part to ensure the river is cared for," Mr Saunders said.
"This event is an even bigger step in the right direction to get the industry involved in the cleanup of the Hastings, and other rivers around Australia, while also raising awareness of the river health. We're very happy to be a part of it."
The campaign involves 21 other estuaries from across NSW and Queensland.
Not only do oyster farmers clean-up the area, participants also sort, curate and count the collected rubbish. A summary of the waste will be documented and analysed by the Australian Marine Debris Database - a program run by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
In 2020, the inaugural Tide to Tip clean-up involved over 250 oyster farmers from 19 oyster growing regions of NSW and Queensland. Together with the help of community groups 12 tonnes of waste was removed from local estuaries.
Partners include NSW Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services, Clean-up Australia, and OceanWatch Australia. The clean-ups are supported by the NSW Landcare Program, a collaboration of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government.