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Abalone Rush Leads to Industry Collapse

by the Fish Site Editor
07 August 2009, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Warnings about the risks of abalone farming at sites on South Australia's remote Eyre Peninsula were ignored by Australian Bight Abalone, of which ALP fundraiser and lobbyist Nick Bolkus is a director, in a rush for profit that has led to the company's collapse.

According to Pia Akerman and Verity Edwards of TheAustralian, environmentalists and concerned residents of the community at Elliston have questioned why the company was allowed to proceed with a multi-million dollar aquaculture project, and whether it should have been expected that mortality rates among the abalone would stifle investors' returns.

The company has gone into administration, leaving 1200 people who invested $43.8 million across four sites in limbo, says the news report.

TheAustralian has this week revealed several high-level connections between ABA and the ALP, chiefly linked to Mr Bolkus, a former ALP senator, and Labor-aligned lobbyist firm Hawker Britton, whose state director Stephen Halliday is a former chief of staff to SA Premier Mike Rann. One source close to the company said yesterday corporate greed had been allowed to take over, stimulating an "out of control" growth rate.

the Fish Site Editor