Leeuwin Coast, part of the Harvest Road Group, has celebrated the upcoming start of the oyster season in Albany with a smoking ceremony conducted by First Nations elders of the Minang/Menang Noongar people on the shores of Oyster Harbour.
The 2022 season marks a major milestone in Harvest Road’s operation in Albany with the first oysters that have been managed by Leeuwin Coast from hatchery to harvest now ready for sale, heading into the festive season.
Leeuwin Coast General Manager, Justin Welsh, said this season’s Albany Rock Oysters have been carefully managed during the whole lifecycle to create a premium shape and flavour.
“Oyster husbandry requires specific techniques to ensure consistency and quality of product. Combined with the characteristics of Albany’s special waterways, we believe our modern production methods create an oyster that will become renowned by restauranteurs and consumers alike as unique and delicious – the first limited volumes of these 100 per cent Leeuwin Coast oysters will become available this year,” Dr Welsh said.
The smoking ceremony recognises the significance of the pristine natural environment both to the local Aboriginal people for its cultural and heritage value, and to the growing shellfish aquaculture industry for the premium quality oysters it produces.
Harvest Road is working closely with local Aboriginal people, mindful of how important Oyster Harbour is in the history of the Minang/Menang people and ensuring the growing industry focuses on collaboration with the Traditional Custodians of the area.
Harvest Road today announced it will be partnering with the local Aboriginal ranger programs in Albany in 2023.
Both the Southern Aboriginal Corporation Ranger Program and the Binnalup Ranger Program have confirmed interest in working with the company on monitoring the environment around the aquaculture leases, retrieving any aquaculture gear from beaches both in Oyster Harbour and at Mistaken Island, and assisting with infrastructure construction.
“We believe there is huge potential for working together with the Aboriginal community in this fantastic landscape to ensure excellent environmental custodianship continues and to share knowledge and understanding wherever we can,” Dr Welsh said.