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Ewan McAsh, has launched SmartOysters

  • Written by Will York


More oysters for all Australians, and better prices!

An oyster farmer with fifteen years of experience under his waders, Ewan McAsh, has launched SmartOysters, a platform which allows oyster farmers to streamline their own unique aquaculture practice to scale production to unprecedented levels, lower the price of oysters to consumers and maximise export capabilities. The oyster industry has remained stagnant for nearly forty years as mitigating factors of tides, barnacles, weather, and disease have turned oyster farming into an alchemy difficult to teach and even more difficult to scale upwards. The new platform aims to combat the industry’s record high prices caused by oyster shortages across Australia resulting from the recent flooding in iconic locations such as Hastings River and Wallis Lake and will ensure the delicacy is affordable for all Australians in years to come. SmartOysters is also offering members of the public to buy shares in the company via a Birchal Equity Crowdfunding raise. 

Farming is a difficult business, let alone farming underwater,” said Ewan McAsh, founder and CEO of SmartOysters. “After 15 years of farming I had created an environment where I was the only person who truly knew what to do on my oyster lease and when to do it - the location of 1000s of oyster baskets, schedules and tasks. All the history, all the best practice, was remembered by one person - me, and this was stopping me from growing my business any further. This is a common challenge faced by most farmers and up until now there has been no solution. Now with SmartOysters technology, farmers can capture and share years of knowledge, employ more staff and grow more oysters.

SmartOysters uses GPS maps and customisable reports to capture the farmer’s ‘unique farm practice’.  The platform notifies farmers when their next grade is due and keeps track of the exact location of their gear and oysters. Not only does the platform keep track of every stage in an oyster’s development, it also schedules and assigns tasks for the stock management and maintenance of the oyster lease. The data captured by the farmer can then be used to de-risk farm investment and certify sustainability and provenance.

SmartOysters has users all around the world including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States in a variety of aquaculture industries.

“Before SmartOysters, we would have to run around on our barges and check every second row for the condition of the oysters,” said Vince Sydall of MOANA Oysters in New Zealand.  “Now we don’t have to. Now we just punch up the information on our phones and away you go.”

Aquaculture is the fastest-growing form of food production and the source of half the world’s seafood. The Nature Conservancy recently reported aquaculture as a $243 billion global industry employing more than 20 million people. 90% of all aquaculture farms are classed as small scale.

These small, often family-owned businesses are stewards of the environment they work in and rely on. The majority of these aquaculture farmers do not use software to manage their farms and rely entirely on memory. Current software solutions for the industry are outdated with complex systems that don’t deliver innovation. Using the SmartOysters app farmers have the ability to become more productive, profitable, supply more sustainable seafood AND have enormous positive impact on the environment.

“The most compelling aspects of SmartOysters is that we are a lot more than just a database system, and most importantly we speak the language of farmers,” said Ewan McAsh. “We use GPS maps because that’s how farmers, including myself, visualise their farms. We focus on operations, because that is what farmers think about every day. Most importantly - this technology will help all farmers get a much better sleep at night!”

SmartOysters is raising capital on the crowdfunding platform - Birchal. Despite the impact of the COVID pandemic and flooding, SmartOysters continues to sign up new farms. The capital raised will be used to build the company’s direct sales, customer engagement team and tech teams. It will also deliver better functionality to Aussie farmers while also scaling up the business as it expands into international waters, especially the largest market of the United States.

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