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Guy Page at Lakeside Oysters
A Nabiac local, Guy Page, is riding the wave of the current high-demand for Sydney Rock Oysters, producing around 7,000 dozen oysters this summer.
The TAFE NSW Aquaculture student and his brother purchased Lakeside Oysters after acquiring an oyster licence as market prices increased due to the unfortunate Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome that Pacific Oyster growers experienced in South Australia.
“I applied for an Aquaculture Permit with a pre-requisite commercial farm development plan, which I worked on while still studying Aquaculture online with TAFE Digital,” said Mr Page. “Not only was the qualification helpful in getting the licence, but it gave us excellent operational models for establishing the farm.”
Mr Page and his brother work in the construction industry, so only farm oysters part-time. “Lakeside Oysters is a small operation with huge potential and we plan to transition to full-time farming as production levels increase,” he said “We sold all our stock by the end of March and have the potential to boost these numbers to over 100,000 dozen if we increase labour, invest in some modern machinery and upgrade our infrastructure.”
Initially Mr Page expected to build a fish farm on his property at Nabiac. However, after working field placement units at a fish farm in Gloucester, he soon learnt there was more to fish farming than digging a few dams and adding fish and water. “By chance I came across an oyster farm for sale and approached my brother to investigate the idea with me,” he said. “In the end we settled on buying Lakeside Oysters, which is starting to yield good produce.”
According to Mr Page, the Sydney Rock Oysters industry also provides good guidance in relation to growth trends, supply and demand.
As part of its licensed status, Lakeside Oysters needs to maintain Food Authority Accreditation, with water and meat sampling practices conducted on their behalf by an estuary coordinator. “We had to develop a Food Safety Program approved by NSW Food Authority and my teachers even went the extra mile to review this document before I submitted it,” said Mr Page.
Currently Lakeside Oysters sells wholesale live produce to various processors in NSW and QLD. “We are using Blue Harvest (a prominent seafood broker) as our off-farm solution for marketing, sales and logistics, which keeps the process streamlined,” he said. “We also sell a small volume to local hotels and restaurants.”
Shortly after purchasing the farm, Mr Page started studying a Certificate IV in Business, also online with TAFE Digital. “I really wish I had done this course prior to setting up the company, as the legal units would have helped me understand what the accountants were advising as a suitable business model. What I find especially useful is the financial management skills I have learnt and have been able to set up profit and loss statements, supported by cash flow projection tables.”
Contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media Business Partner. M: 0417 134 048