On Tuesday 22nd February, local oyster farmers will descend onto the foreshore of the Nambucca River on Gumbaynggirr Country for the mass industry led clean-up event “Tide to Tip”. This is the third year of the event, which is organised by OceanWatch Australia, that sees oyster growers lead marine debris clean-ups in estuaries across the state.

Figure 1. Camden Haven oyster farmers at the “Tide to Tip” clean up in 2020.

Oyster farming in the Nambucca River supplies beautiful native Sydney Rock Oysters to hungry shellfish lovers. With 7 oyster farms perched on the banks of the river, the industry generates hundreds of jobs and is an important part of the local economy.

Out on the water every day, oyster farmers have an intimate knowledge of their local environment, and regularly collect rubbish they find floating in the estuary. Tide to Tip not only provides a way for fishers and farmers to give back to the estuaries on which their livelihoods depend but helps to ensure Australian waterways remain pristine and healthy for generations to come.

Figure 2. Nambucca oyster farmers Nicolas and Delphine Tessier.

Local oyster farmers Delphine and Nicolas Tessier from the Nambucca Oyster Company said:

“Oyster farmers see first-hand the condition of Nambucca every day. Some years are rougher than others with storms and flooding impacting the river. Our farmers are always on the water collecting debris as we go, as we depend on a healthy river for our businesses. Tide to Tip is an opportunity to bring loads of trash out of the environment, get the community involved and bring awareness to river health across NSW and Australia”.

This annual clean-up event known as “Tide to Tip” involves 20 other estuaries from across NSW, WA and QLD. Not only will oyster farmers clean-up the area, participants will also sort, curate and count the collected rubbish. A summary of the waste will be documented and analysed by the Australian Marine Debris Database – a program run by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

Figure 3. Result of previous years “Tide to Tip” clean up in Camden Haven.

Since it began in 2020, the “Tide to Tip” clean-up has involved over 250 Oyster Farmers from 19 oyster growing regions of NSW and QLD. Together with the help of community groups 22.5 tonnes of waste has been removed from our estuaries. Partners include NSW Department of Primary Industries, South East and Hunter Local Land Services, Clean-up Australia, Shapes in the Sand, and OceanWatch Australia.

The clean-ups are supported by the Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative, which is funded by the NSW Government, and supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

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