Boat wash incident permanently damages oyster leases

NSW Transport Roads and Maritime services
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Skippers are reminded of the responsibility to keep wash to a minimum after an incident last weekend in Wallis Lake in which wash from a vessel permanently damaged several oyster leases.

Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead said an estimated $14,000 in damage was sustained to oyster leases owned by two separate oyster farmers on Wallis Lake on either Saturday or Sunday. Some of the oysters which were upturned into the lake were this week recovered by scuba divers.

'Large wash can upturn oyster trays or push oysters off the trays into the water, which is what happened at the weekend,' Mr Bromhead said.

'At this stage in the three-year production cycle, oysters are only months away from being ready for consumption.

'Oyster growers cannot insure against incidents like this.'

Mr Bromhead said the creation of wash – waves and turbulence – in navigable waters which causes unreasonable impact or damage could result in an on-the-spot fine of up to $500, or up to $5,500 if dealt with by a court.

'A tip for larger boats is to slow down and drive to the conditions and remember wash also includes the unbroken surge of pressure waves sometimes created behind larger cruising boats.

'As a rule of thumb if your boat is making waves larger than what you might reasonable expect in an area from wind or swell then there is a high risk you might be causing a problem'.

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