Oysters lead tourism push

A FUNKY oyster shack at Dolphin Sands on the East Coast will be the launch pad for this year’s Tasmanian Seafood Trail, designed to reinvigorate the local tourism and aquaculture sector.

The Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council has chosen Melshell Oyster Shack for the launch which promotes seafood tourism. And the launch will involve local school children, the Swansea Men’s Shed and other local businesses.

To be launched on Friday October 29, the Industry Council developed the seafood trail to fill a gap in awareness of the seafood available in Tasmania.

The trail event features shops, farms and active wharf destinations. With fewer than 60 students, the Swansea Primary School will contribute to the launch by unveiling their colouring tile tactile mural wall at the shack.

School principal Kristy Hay said she was quick to get involved when approached by Melshell to be involved in the project.

“When we are invited to participate in creative and cultural experiences within our local community, we help our students feel a sense of connectedness and achievement,” Ms Hay said.
“Working together on projects such as this, is more than just cooperation.
“By sharing and developing ideas with small local businesses our learners engage in new ways of thinking.’’

On launch day students will take part in oyster farming activities and learning about the industry.

They will be grading oysters, dressing up as an oyster farmer, and having an oyster sack race.

The media launch will help highlight the East Coast’s valuable seafood sector.

The Melshell Oyster Shack was originally established as a side gig to the oyster farm in 2015.

“It quickly became the main revenue stream for the business with tourists flocking for the freshest oysters served with oyster farming secrets and a view of the oyster leases,’’ Cassie Melrose said.

With 60 per cent of visitors being international tourists, the family was greatly impacted by Covid in 2020 and closed Melshell Oyster Shack.

The farm continued producing quality oysters and diverted the sales to Melbourne. In 1984 the Melrose family began growing oysters in the Swan River.

Anne, Don and their son Ian Melrose moved from Sydney to become oyster farmers with a “trial and error” approach.

Don Melrose, an industrial chemist, Ian “Macgyver” Melrose a mechanic and Anne Melrose the optimist and problem solver turned out to be a dynamic trio.

Cassie joined the family and the farm after marrying Ian in 2001.

In 2015 Cassie and Ian acted on the increased number of enquiries from tourists for fresh oysters and the lack of availability of premium seafood on the coast at that time.

“We bought a caravan from a neighbour for $100, stripped it, whacked in a display fridge and popped it near the farm gate,’’ Cassie Melrose said.
“It took a while to generate awareness but was greatly assisted by a Tourism Tasmania advertising campaign.’’

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