Steve Leslie – I developed a strong interest in aquaculture at an early age and remember my first taste of mussels collected off the rocks in Mornington when I was around 5 years old. Early on when I worked with my family to expand our sheep farm in western Victoria I followed the development of the mussel industry in Victoria with interest and also attended the inaugural angasi industry workshops in Queenscliff in the 80’s. When an opportunity arose to follow my dream the family farming business diversified into aquaculture. I gained experience in mussel farming techniques from the enterprising skilled mussel farmers in New Zealand. They taught me the art of double-backbone aquaculture which I have relied on ever since to provide a stable and reliable aquaculture platform. Buoyed by all I had learned and yearning to be closer to family and life-long friends I returned to Australia in the mid 90’s, to become one of the pioneering mussel growers in Tasmania.
When the mussel industry was no longer profitable for smaller producers, we turned our deep-water aquaculture experience into an opportunity to develop a new approach to cultivating oysters in deeper waters. We set up our company Intertidal Oyster Solutions Pty Ltd in 2010 to develop farming systems to grow high quality oysters, from spat through to market, with no need for stock translocation to different locations to gain the best growing conditions. We have developed a range of equipment that provide oysters with different growing environments including deep-water, floating sub-surface and inter-tidal conditions. On a succession of neighbouring long-lines in close proximity the different grow-out systems allow us to change the oysters environment from time to time as they grow. Cultivating angasi oysters has been challenging but the effort is rewarding. It is easy to see why this native oyster is known as ‘the oyster lovers oyster’.
Yvonne Young- I took a little longer and a different pathway to arrive in aquaculture. Specialising in community health and paediatric cardio-thoracic nursing, I later studied human physiology, PhD. Steve introduced me to and passed on his passion for aquaculture. Trading as ‘The Oyster Province’, we entered the half-shell market in 2016 selling our premium quality angasi oysters. I am delighted to be growing a native species that is part of our Australian cultural history, that tastes great, is nutritional food and improves water quality.
Win Leslie- Steve’s mum, has been a solid support from the outset of his venture into aquaculture. At 94 she is an enthusiastic member of the team taking a hands on approach and interest in the daily running of the marine farm.
Heartfelt thanks to our family
Our family business has heavily relied on the generosity of family members to contribute their skills and labour to assist us to achieve our goals. In particular Tony Young, has been a constant source of innovation and inventiveness. Tony has been a devoted sounding board, and has had the patience to fine tune prototype designs, as we developed the new aquaculture equipment as a team. His efforts have been extra special. Bill Young has contributed through thick and thin, with valuable business advice and hands on oyster farming work, always there to assist and encourage. All the family have been roped into grading oysters when ever they visit, and have happily provided business advice and support, all very gratefully received.
A very special thank you to Kellie Speechley, The Net Girl, for her contribution towards designing the website and her support which empowered us to put our individual stamp on the design and enabled us to have complete control of ongoing editing to keep the site updated.
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