Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture Production Criticised by Many

AUSTRALIA - Although the Victorian Government has come up with a scheme that seemingly has potential to triple aquaculture output, many welcome the plan with criticism and cynicism.

"The Government has recognised the error of its ways, but we have lost four years, and great people."
Peter Walsh, National Party agriculture spokesman

According to the Age, Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said the strategy aimed to increase output from $22 million to $60 million by 2015.

The plan would create the framework for an ecologically sustainable and prosperous aquaculture industry.

He said the strategy included six main objectives and 24 actions for the Department of Primary Industries to implement in consultation with an industry reference group.

Victorian aquaculture makes up 3% of Australia's output, which is valued at more than $740 million. The state's main products are trout, mussels and abalone. Victorian production is dwarfed by South Australia ($278 million), Western Australia ($157 million), Tasmania ($132 million), Queensland ($65 million), NSW ($50 million) and the Northern Territory ($28 million).

The strategy's aims include identifying and promoting investment, implementing a whole-of-government best practice management and regulation, improving market-led development, and reducing the environmental impact of production systems.

National Party agriculture spokesman Peter Walsh said the strategy "doesn't say very much".

He said the sector had not recovered from the downturn when the Labor Government implemented a cost-recovery program four years ago. Yabby, fish and crustacean producers had their licence fees increased by more than 400%.

"A large number in the industry just shut up shop," Mr Walsh said. He said the new strategy aimed to reduce bureaucracy and reduce costs.

"Those things were imposed on the industry by the Government in 2004," he said.

View the Age story by clicking here.

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