Here’s a roundup of current aquaculture news snippets courtesy of the Fish eNews fortnightly newsletter.
The West Coast’s ABA has been successfully assessed by an environmental auditor and Dr Tim Moore of Balance Carbon has arranged for the company to buy carbon credits using the NSW greenhouse gas abatement scheme. The accreditation is expected to be of great help with international marketing.
ABA is having quite an effect on its base town, Elliston. The company currently employs 40 people, but by June next year expects to have 90. On Census Night 2006, the town and surrounds had a population of 377 – 188 employed. The company will spend $250 million over six years to develop. The project’s first 100-tonne harvest is currently in progress.
Keith Harveyson from the Twin Cities Fish Stocking Society explains that you must have a permit to release fish – only the Society and some fish industries have them – and he also says it’s important that the public doesn’t release fish, especially exotic aquarium fish.
Year 7 student Jarod Heron says,
”It’s been fun with the barras, I enjoyed looking after them and can’t wait till someone catches them and tells us how much they’ve grown.”
Hermit Park’s barra will be released in one of the three weirs in Townsville adding to the 1500 fish released so far this year. The fish, given to the school in 2007 by the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility Unit at James Cook University are now 45cm in length. They’ll be released into one of the weirs in Townsville.
Barramundi were first tagged in 1985 and since then one million fish have been tagged, but only 8 to 10 per cent of tagged fish were caught. Keith says,
”I think it’s wonderful for all the kids to be involved with a great program like this and the environment.
Five years ago, the Cowell Area School on SA’s Eyre Peninsula east coast, introduced a Certificate in Aquaculture for its year 11-12 students. Now with support from a Federal Government grant for the project, the aquaculture centre is almost complete.
The school’s students have been heavily involved in the construction work, dealing with the framework, applying gyprock, painting and paving. The centre will provide facilities to allow education in many aspects of the seafood industry. Eventually it will be open to the public, showcasing what the students are doing. It will be officially opened in the middle of 2008.
The new course’s structure consists of:
Participants include local and interstate people. The Federal Government provided $176,000 to SA’s Seafood Training Centre of Excellence to contract the Australian Fisheries Academy to run the first two courses. Assuming success, there may be applications to fund further courses.
With development progressing to more than $1 billion in retail value over the next ten years, SA now has almost 600 sites for aquaculture farming or research. Although currently dominated financially by the tuna sector, it’s expected the abalone, mussel and kingfish areas will build. There’s also growing interest in razor fish, sea cucumber and sea urchins.
Five of Hong Kong’s executive chefs in company with Minister for Economic Development and Tourism Paula Wriedt have toured Tassal’s atlantic salmon farm. The chefs have been sampling Tasmanian produce, and the outcome is agreement that Hong Kong consumers are hungry for Tasmanian seafood, with the main products sought being salmon, abalone and trout.
Mark Andrews decided to establish a mussel farm near Port Lincoln following a round-the-world search for a suitable spot because mussels grow quickly in the water in that area, and there’s a good natural spatfall. Production costs are also better. Now, after three years, his company South Australian Seafood produces 700 tonnes of mussels annually. It’s the largest mussel grower in SA, and is expected to grow to producing 1000 tonnes in 2008. The farm covers 168ha of water in Boston Bay and employs 8 people.
Western Kingfish has been issued the first commercial lobster aquaculture license in WA, allowing the culture of Moreton Bay bugs, tropical rock lobster and western rock lobster. Company director Alan Savage advises the company intends establishing a small-scale pilot project for larval rearing and growout of Moreton Bay bugs and tropical rock lobster. The work will take place at the company’s Jurien Bay facility. Currently Western Kingfish is waiting for a ministerial exemption to allow collection of a small number of juvenile western rock lobster – pueruli – to provide for efforts towards the commercial feasibility of producing the species. An issue is that the western rock lobster takes much longer to grow to marketable size than does a tropical rock lobster. The wildcatch western rock lobster industry has experienced below-average catches in recent years, with fears that there’ll be one of the smallest harvests on record in two or three ye ar’s time. The prediction is based on Fisheries data showing the lowest puerulis settlement since records began.
Northern Pacific Sea Stars are creating havoc across 280 nautical miles of Tasmania’s coastal water, from Bruny Island to Banks Strait between Cape Barren Island and the State’s north-eastern tip. Advice is the pest has destroyed the ecology, costing the shellfish industry millions. For example, the Sea Star has cost the Spring Bay Scallop Farm millions, with the business losing more than 15 million scallops. The farm has been forced to stop using lantern cages and begin bottom-culture, which is less productive. The farm now harvests less than one-tenth of the scallop product it grew in cages and has diversified to growing blue mussels. Attempts by the Department of Primary Industries and Water to eradicate the pest have failed, and it’s believed no effective control methods exist.
Two prominent members of the French oyster industry are to study oyster farming practices in SA, and possibly to buy technology. They are guests of SEAPA Pty Ltd – manufacturer of plastic products for the aquaculture industry – which hopes to produce major sales of its oyster-growing technology in France. The country supplies some 150,000 tonnes of oysters annually to Europe, 80 per cent in the six weeks before Christmas. The French production is 10 times greater then that of Australia. SEAPA’s adjustable longline system provides for farmers to adjust the height of baskets in the water column to achieve optimum growth. The company already exports to Singapore, the U.S and New Zealand.