Local oyster farmers are asking holiday makers in Merimbula and Pambula to keep an eye out for oyster crops, which can be easily damaged by carelessness, while out on the water.
Dominic Boyton from Merimbula Gourmet Oysters said that the holiday season was always a worrying time for oyster farmers mainly through visitors not following the basic rules.
“We’re constantly pulling hire boats and other watercraft out of the leases because it appears people just don’t know where to go,” he said.
“It’s nearly a daily occurrence, especially this time, and the main problem in Merimbula Lake is people don’t know the rules.
“Staying between the red and green channel markers means you won’t get into trouble and the leases are pretty easy to see with the floating bags we’re using now.”
Pambula Lake also has problems with tourist boats, exacerbated by a lack of speed limit on the lake.
“Oyster farmers on Pambula Lake have a big issue with the wash from speeding boats near the leases there,” Mr Boyton said.
“The wash knocks the oysters off the racks and they get eaten by stingrays or whatever.”
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Aquaculture Manager, Ian Lyall, said many people don’t realise they may be affecting oyster leases as they have their fun out on the water.
“Most oyster farmers take a fairly tolerant approach to people fishing around their oyster leases,” he said.
“However, when you see the irresponsible behaviour of some recreational fishers and other boat owners you can understand why they can get upset.
“And for those tempted to ’pick up’ a feed of oysters, just remember that taking oysters from an oyster lease is theft and has resulted in jail terms and/or fines in excess of $55,000.”