The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Mr Justin Fromm, Principal Economic Development Officer at Pilbara Development Commission joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Pilbara Rock Oyster Aquaculture Research and Development Project’.


The key goal for the Pilbara of the future is a for more diverse and sustainable economy. Aquaculture has been identified as one industry that maybe able to contribute to this goal.

The Pilbara has had a long association with commercial oysters. The Pilbara was the location of Australia’s first pearling lugger fleet at Cossack in the 1890’s and there is an extensive history of farming pearl oysters in the region from the 1960’s on. The locals in the region have enjoyed chipping and eating oysters off the rocks since the region was first settled and in the 1970’s there was bottled oyster meat product from oysters chipped off the rocks available from a local fish shop.

The Pilbara Rock Oyster Aquaculture Research and Development Project is a partnership between all three levels of Australian Government, private industry and an Aboriginal Corporation to investigate the feasibility of establishing a rock oyster aquaculture industry in the Pilbara.
This paper tells the story of the three year journey so far, from regional economic development aspirations, to detailed desktop study, attracting partners, investment attraction, through to putting equipment in the water and the beginnings of growing oysters.


Justin Fromm has held various industry development roles throughout his 20 plus year career, on the farm, research and development, regulation, government policy development and implementation, and industry advocacy and representation. His career has seen him hold a number of senior industry and government roles in regional economic and industry development across Australia. He was appointed as the Principal Economic Development Officer at the Pilbara Development Commission in 2014 where he led the final phase of development of the Pilbara Regional Investment Blueprint. Justin is based in Karratha where he leads and manages a number of projects within the economic development portfolio of the Commission.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.