Yumbah Aquaculture to acquire Cameron of Tasmania

COMBINED: Cameron of Tasmania general manager Ben Cameron, pictured with Yumbah Port Lincoln general manager Tom Hyde, is excited for the future working with Yumbah Aquaculture. Photo: supplied
COMBINED: Cameron of Tasmania general manager Ben Cameron, pictured with Yumbah Port Lincoln general manager Tom Hyde, is excited for the future working with Yumbah Aquaculture. Photo: supplied

Two of Australia's leading shellfish companies will join forces as they build upon their oyster spat hatchery venture near Port Lincoln and become a major entity in Australian seafood.

Yumbah Aquaculture has announced it will acquire Tasmanian based oyster farming company Cameron of Tasmania which will see them become one of the country's biggest producers of shellfish.

This is an extension of the partnership which began about 2-3 years ago which led to the opening of the Yumbah Hatchery at Point Boston to create oyster spat in response to the outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania in 2016.

Yumbah Aquaculture chief executive officer David Wood said the acquisition made sense as it the two companies had common values and this would help with further growth and diversification in products.

"We've been working with them for a number of years and one thing we know the transition does is it embeds the experience of the Cameron family into the Yumbah organisation," he said.

"What we see as Yumbah's strategic goal is to develop a portfolio with geographic and species diversity and with Cameron of Tasmania coming on board that will produce 700 tonne of abalone, 350 tonne of mussels, between South Australia and Tasmania over 150 million oyster spat and over 2.6 million mature mussels for the market in Tasmania."

Mr Wood said the Cameron of Tasmania brand would continue under the Yumbah umbrella with the company's general manager Ben Cameron to remain in his position, as well as having a seat on the board.

This acquisition follows Yumbah taking on Victorian mussel growers Bay Sea Farms earlier this year.

SPAT: Ben Cameron with some oyster spat. Photo: supplied

SPAT: Ben Cameron with some oyster spat. Photo: supplied

Cameron of Tasmania brings into the company its hatcheries and nurseries in Tasmania, as well as its deep water and intertidal oyster farms.

In response to the POMS outbreak two companies launched the local hatchery in March last year, which provides two thirds of South Australia's oyster spat.

The hatchery came about after a $1.35 million expansion of existing abalone farming facilities and $250,000 in state government funding towards construction of infrastructure.

Mr Cameron said the decision to join with Yumbah was based on their proven working history and the opportunities that could come from being involved with the predominantly abalone-focused business, without changing the fundamental structures of each other.

He the Cameron family had been involved for the last 30 years and it would continue to be involved.

"We are two companies with similar corporate structures," he said.

"Yumbah is still farming abalone but we all have each other's backs in case of disease or environmental risks."

The past year has seen COVID pose a challenge within the seafood industry as businesses have looked to diversify in products and in the markets their products enter.

Mr Wood said even with the challenge of COVID Yumbah and all involved was excited with its direction and growth.

"We think Yumbah can take oysters into existing markets and extend the reach of Cameron of Tasmania," he said.

This story Shellfish companies come together for stronger future first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.