Andrew Forrest claims to know nothing about his oyster company Harvest Road dumping tonnes of shellfish at tip

Kimberley Caines
The West Australian
3 Min Read
Andrew Forrest at the National Press Club.
Andrew Forrest at the National Press Club. Credit: Lukas Coch

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has said he knows nothing about revelations tonnes of waste from his oyster company is being dumped at a rubbish tip.

The Nightly reported on Monday that tonnes of “offal” from Mr Forrest’s multi-million dollar akoya oyster company Leeuwin Coast — the aquaculture arm of his Harvest Road Group — had been trucked and dumped at a tip in Albany, about five hours south of Perth.

Sources said the oysters produced in the venture had outweighed market demand and the product was being dumped as waste instead of being sold.

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The City of Albany confirmed Harvest Road had dumped 12.62 tonnes of offal at its waste facility in December alone.

City of Albany's waste facility, Hanrahan Road.
City of Albany's waste facility, Hanrahan Road. Credit: Laurie Benson

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on Monday, Mr Forrest said he was unaware of the dumping but promised to look into the matter.

“If I knew anything about it, I’d probably answer (your question),” Mr Forrest said.

“That’s all news to me. But be assured I’ll be looking at it very hard and if that’s the truth, I will be doing something about it.”

When The Nightly asked him how it aligned with his company’s commitment to sustainability or if there was another explanation for all the waste, he said: “You can keep hammering this, but I don’t know anything about it.”

“I have said I’m going to find out about it as soon as possible.

“I’ve never hidden from the media so happy to rock ’n’ roll.”

Nicola and Andrew Forrest at Oyster Harbour.
Nicola and Andrew Forrest at Oyster Harbour. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Harvest Road Group on Monday refuted suggestions it was dumping oysters.

“The waste was primarily ropes and buoys, but because there was some organic matter attached like seaweed, barnacles, mussels and other naturally occurring fowling it is classified as offal,” a spokesman said.

However an Albany fisherman, who did not want to be named, said the farm’s production outweighed demand.

“They are harvesting a large amount of oysters and not utilising the product,” he said.

“If they can’t get the price they want for it surely they could have used them in a marketing campaign and put Albany and Harvest Road on the map instead of trucking and dumping them.

“It’s food at the end of the day, fresh food and a good product.”

When Mr Forrest and his then-wife Nicola launched Leeuwin Coast, they boasted it was a sustainable shellfish operation that they likened to regenerative farming as it “cleans, heals and enhances our oceans”.

Celebrity chef Matt Moran.
Picture: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser
Celebrity chef Matt Moran. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

In March 2021, high-profile chef Matt Moran visited the Albany operation and said he appreciated Leeuwin Coast’s sustainable farming aims.

Sustainability features heavily on the Leeuwin Coast website.

“Leeuwin Coast is focused on delivering best practice in sustainable shellfish aquaculture. Maintaining this focus on a commercial scale protects the marine environments we operate in, while also producing the best quality seafood,” the website reads.

The Leeuwin Coast business, listed as a $16 million operation when it was opened, was being driven by the new pocket-sized delicacy with the hope it would one day become a signature WA export.

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