2009/701 Australian oyster industry benchmarking program development
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2009/701 Australian oyster industry benchmarking program development


By Tony Troup, Select Oyster Company



In March 2008 the CRC Oyster Consortium identified "Benchmarking" as the second highest priority area of additional research for oyster growers (behind genetics). This project aimed to improve average net margin of benchmarking project participants by 2% through implementation of identified profitable practices. Annual financial and qualitative benchmarking was undertaken for oyster businesses in New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia over three consecutive financial years.


The project found that, despite the higher per dozen price that Sydney Rock Oyster growers achieve relative to Pacific Oysters, Pacific Oyster growers have demonstrated a higher income per developed hectare and full time equivalent (FTE). This can be attributed to production standards, handling systems and labour management. Oyster production was consistently more profitable in Tasmania than other states.

They recommended that reporting of industry benchmarks should be based on a “per dozen oysters” or “per developed hectare” to ensure that the confidentiality of smaller and larger growers is protected.

A key finding was that growers need to have a need or reason to benchmark. Such needs include:

  • A requirement to report to shareholders
  • Curiosity about how their performance compares to other producers within the state or nationally
  • A downturn in the industry (yields or prices)
  • The need to improve long term business profitability
  • The need to value the business as part of a family business transfer or sale to a third party.


This report was embargoed as commercial in confidence until the conclusion of the Seafood CRC and can now be downloaded below