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Oyster farm equipment maker looks to accelerate export growth despite COVID restrictions

Business

Aquaculture system producer SEAPA is trying to attract international customers by promoting new products through online channels.

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SEAPA Group Sales Manager Alex Jack said not being able to travel over the past year had been hard for the South Australian company that sells to international clients.

“COVID-19 restricted our ability to be in the market, in front of customers, so we are trying to spend a bit more time on our digital content,” Jack said.

“(We are) trying to get information out to those oyster growers where we previously would have been in their face.”

He said SEAPA will use an AUD $30,000 South Australia Export Accelerator Program grant to update their website and produce videos about the new products they intend to release this year.

Jack said the grant could help them achieve export sales of $1.2 million that would lead to five new jobs created at SEAPA sister company Garon Plastics.

Garon Plastics manufactures SEAPA’s innovative oyster baskets at their factory in Adelaide, South Australia.

“Through the increase in export sales through development of new products entering into the market, we hope that can flow through to the manufacturing facility and help grow jobs,” said Jack.

SEAPA’s baskets were originally designed for adjustable long line Pacific Oyster farming in Australia, where most oysters are sold in a half shell, but in the past five years new models of the baskets have been adapted so they can be retrofitted to different farming techniques, such as the French method or the increasingly prevalent sub-tidal technique in deeper waters.

The baskets are designed to use the movement of waves to gently rock the oysters inside each basket to harden and shape shells to a consistent size and build muscle.

In the coming year, SEAPA intends to release a range of new products developed for the different oyster growing conditions around the world.

“We are doing trials of multiple different basket systems in different environmental conditions, in inter-tidal, sub-tidal and floating, so we do have some different products coming out in the near future,” said Jack.

“(These products will) improve efficiency, improved ability to grow oysters in the various locations, product quality and peace of mind of oyster farming.”

One product is an adaptable float to help the European growers where the tide range is very large and at times the energy produced at the surface by the wind and the tide is not enough to rumble the oysters.

SEAPA has been making its innovative oyster baskets in Adelaide since 1998, growing the business to now have offices in the United States, France and Japan.

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