The Annual General Meeting for Australia's Oyster Coast was held in Narooma last Friday.
The meeting was attended by the majority of AOC's members, with all agreeing to continue the exciting and proactive set of programs commenced during the past 12 months.
The AGM also saw a new set of office bearers elected. Leading AOC into 2015 will be Stacey Loftus, who was elected President of AOC and Chair of the AOC Management Committee.
Stacey is a well-respected oyster farmer from Wonboyn Lake, and is a current Nuffield Scholar who'll be travelling through Europe and Asia in early 2015 to learn about marketing techniques of foreign oyster industries.
Stacey will be ably assisted by new Treasurer and 'go-to-guy' David Maidment - a Narooma oyster farmer with over 30 years' experience and a reputation as an industry leader, especially in regards to the farming of native Angasi oysters.
Shoalhaven oyster farmer Anthony Munn was elected Vice-President, while Clyde River farmer Jim Yiannaros was elected Secretary. Other estuary representatives elected to the Management Committee were Ruben Fernandez (Tuross Lake), Shane Buckley (Wapengo Lake), Brett Weingarth (Merimbula Lake) and Greg Carton (Pambula Lake).
Andrew Wales will remain Executive Officer and will coordinate AOC's programs in close consultation with the President and Management Committee.
The new President and AOC Executive Officer both paid tribute to outgoing President Ben Ralston, who committed himself tirelessly to AOC during his time at the helm.
Ben was and remains the benchmark by which other AOC members are measured, in regards to the massive contributions he has made to the organisation and industry, often at the expense of his own business interests. Thank you Ben!
Thanks also went out to the Management Committee from 2013-2014 for their efforts during the past 12-18 months.
The meeting saw a number of exciting changes agreed to including:
- The formation of specialist sub-committees to oversee the drive of AOC's two main programs - the Oyster Trail, and international exports. This will help these programs to deploy to market much quicker.
- The move to restructure AOC to better deliver its export program to markets across Asia, North America and Europe.
All who attended the AGM agreed that the next 6-12 months will be exciting for AOC. Dreams of exporting should be realised, and the Oyster Trail will be taken to a new level with a dedicated promotional campaign to commence in summer 2014/2015.
Thanks to all those who attended the AGM, and we look forward to an exciting and successful year ahead!
A message from the new AOC president
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting Australia’s Oyster Coast over the past 18 months and for your contributions to help get us to where we stand today. We have certainly made an impact on the industry with our programs and vision - not only locally, but also on state, federal and international platforms.
I am proud to be stepping up into Ben Ralston's shoes and I hope I can fill them with my own drive and determination to make sure that Australia’s Oyster Coast continues with the momentum and spirit in which Ben has driven us thus far.
I thank the incoming Management Committee for their confidence in me and their support of myself and our Executive Officer, Andrew Wales.
I look forward to meeting you all and working with you to progress the Oyster Trail and the export programs which we are all so passionate about, with our focus firm on our environmental standards.
Please know that I am available for feedback of any kind and I hope we can keep the spirit of Australia’s Oyster Coast alive and kicking.
President & Chair, Australia’s Oyster Coast