Aquaculture Project Proposed for Jervis Bay

30 October 2012, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Plans are in the pipeline for the New South Wales Government to establish commercial aquaculture industry in Jervis Bay, on the NSW South Coast, boosting an already growing industry, Executive Director Fisheries NSW, Dr Geoff Allan, said.

Dr Allan said a meeting with South Coast stakeholders, including government agencies, Shoalhaven City Councillors and staff and the University of Wollongong was held with Fisheries NSW last week to outline the proposal to gain approval for three aquaculture leases in Jervis Bay to culture Blue Mussels and other shellfish.

"Jervis Bay had a history of Blue Mussel cultivation starting in the late 1970s, as well as scallop research undertaken by Fisheries NSW in the 1990s," Dr Allan said.

"Planning approval will be sought for a 10 hectare lease off Vincentia where previous mussel culture rafts were located and two 20 hectare leases near Callala Bay.

"If approved, these aquaculture areas would be tendered for lease to commercial operators.

"The leases would be used for longline shellfish production of species such as Blue Mussels, scallops and oysters.

"The leases are expected to have less visual impact than rafts as shellfish would be suspended from lines supported by buoys."

Preliminary investigations indicate that Jervis Bay is well suited for shellfish aquaculture and this activity is consistent with the Jervis Bay Marine Park Zoning Plan. Shellfish aquaculture is low impact and would result in the nett export of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from the bay.

"Developing sustainable seafood production is a priority for the NSW Government as close to 85 per cent of seafood purchased in this State is imported," Dr Allan said.

"This project is classified as a State Significant Infrastructure proposal and requires consent from the Minister for Planning.

"The aquaculture industry in NSW is a world leader in achieving industry-best practice and environmental protection." An Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Management Plan will be prepared and include issues raised during consultation with stakeholders. The documents will address issues that may pose an environmental risk during construction and operational phases of any lease development.

The NSW aquaculture industry is valued at more than A$50 million annually, from mainly oyster cultivation in 30 estuaries along the NSW coastline.

The project would generate local seafood sales and employment opportunities.