2009/743 Reproductive condition, marketability and survival in oyster breeding strategies

2009/743 Reproductive condition, marketability and survival in oyster breeding strategies

By Matt Cunningham


The Australian Seafood Industries' (ASI) breeding program is now in its eighth generation of selectively bred Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) families, concentrating in South Australia and Tasmania on increased turnover, shell shape and uniformity. The Select Oyster Company (SOCo) of New South Wales is in its fifth year and was formed to commercialise the fast growth and disease resistant breeding lines of Sydney Rock Oysters (SRO, Saccostrea glomerata) developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) since the 1990s. Neither program has so far focused on oyster marketability. Therefore, the oyster industries now require breeding programs to focus on quality and market appeal, to increase competitiveness alongside imported and alternative products.

This project looked for preliminary evidence of sensory variation between standard and selectively bred oysters sufficient to warrant further investigation. At least, it is necessary to ensure that selection within the oyster breeding programs does not diminish marketability characteristics. Furthermore, this project seeks to develop selection methods to enhance reproductive conditioning, marketability and survival and to develop oyster families which increasingly display these features.


Project Objectives

  1. To validate the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in Pacific and Sydney Rock Oysters by establishing calibration models which can be used as a rapid and low cost tool for chemical analysis.
  2. Establish specifications for the inclusion of Sydney Rock Oyster data within the project data management system.
  3. Quantify the relationship between size/age and market condition of oysters and for Pacific Oysters to have incorporated this into the existing economic model to assist selection decisions within the ASI selective breeding program.
  4. Determine the potential genetic gains through selective breeding for reproductive condition, market condition and survival.
  5. Prepare a breeding strategy which describes how these characteristics can be incorporated into the ASI and SOCo selective breeding programs.
  6. Determine if there is evidence of differences in sensory attributes between standard commercial and selected oyster lines sufficient to warrant further investigation.