Oyster 1About a year ago I was asked if I could assist the Pacific oyster industry in their fight against the potentially devastating threat of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS).

With research into the virus in Australia having identified the potential to breed resistance, the industry needed to introduce a levy to fund the necessary research and development. It meant all hatcheries would need to increase their prices by the amount of the levy and pay it to the research body.

My role, apart from continuing to support the retail arm of the industry as a consumer, was to help obtain authorisation from the ACCC for what might otherwise be cartel or anti-competitive conduct.

I’m very pleased to report that last Thursday the ACCC granted interim authorisation. A copy of the authorisation is here and there is also a press release.

It’s not often that sole legal practitioners get to work on something of such national importance and its quite rewarding to have secured the first stage authorisation. The outbreaks in NSW have already resulted in some growers having to leave the industry and the threat is very real. The work done behind the scenes in the industry and the co-operation given by the ACCC staff has been fantastic. I trust that this will now permit Australia to make the progress that is so urgently needed to provide some protection against POMS and look forward to finalisation of the authorisation in the near future. And this time an acknowledgement – I had to borrow the shot from Wikipedia.