Friday, November 28, 2014

28/11/2014: Australian abalone farm's expansion approved

West Australia's environmental watchdog has approved a huge expansion of a world-first abalone farming project off the south west coast, The West Australian reports.

The approval means 800,000 juvenile abalone will be seeded on a network of artificial reefs in Flinders Bay over the next year.
One kilogram of the seafood delicacy is worth more than two tonnes of iron ore on international markets, with demand set to rocket under the free trade agreement with China.

The Department of Environmental Regulation ticked off two new leases over 80 hectares of sea floor in the countdown to yesterday's opening of the AUS$34.5 million Augusta boat harbour.

West Australian company Ocean Grown Abalone will build a processing plant at the marina and use marina facilities to help install about 5000 pieces of artificial reef each weighing 900kg.

As well as supplying top-end restaurants, it wants to take Chinese tourists out on boats to see the abalone ‘ranches' and the abundant fish life they attract in waters between 2km and 4km from the marina.

OGA chief executive Brad Adams said the new leases would allow the company to reach commercial-scale production of about 100 tonnes a year.

It took the company, which has 400,000 abalone on a 40 hectare lease, four years to get the approval to expand.

"No one else in the world has ever done abalone ranching on a commercial scale," Mr Adams said. 

"If we get this ranch going well, we could see the birth of the new industry of offshore abalone aquaculture in West Australia." 

Read more HERE.

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