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Aquaculture Research Lease Released for Public Consultation

26 October 2012, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Plans to establish a new aquaculture research lease on the States north coast to investigate sustainable seafood production, will go on public exhibition this week (October 26), Executive Director Fisheries NSW, Dr Geoff Allan, said.

Dr Allan said the project to extend the successful marine hatchery work at Port Stephens Fisheries Institute to an offshore research lease is classified as a State Significant Infrastructure proposal.

The application seeks to establish a 20 hectare lease (370 metres x 530 metres) located 3.5 kilometres off Hawks Nest for a period of five years, he said.

The Environmental Impact Statement and draft Environmental Management Plan have been prepared by Fisheries NSW to accompany the application which will be exhibited by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure from 26 October until 29 November 2012.

Approval for the aquaculture research lease requires the consent of the Minister for Planning.

The lease would allow Fisheries NSW researchers to extend their ground-breaking research on species such as Yellowtail Kingfish which is currently underway at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute.

Key outcomes from the research would be proving species suitability, validating equipment and technology and to conduct environmental monitoring.

Some 85 per cent of seafood purchased in NSW is currently imported. With global demand and seafood consumption per capita increasing, aquaculture must play an increased role in sustainable seafood supply in the future.

Aquaculture research is vital to secure a viable and sustainable aquaculture industry for NSW, Dr Allan said.

Consultation with stakeholders in the Port Stephens/Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens area commenced late 2011 with agencies, local government, environmental and community groups, Indigenous leaders, recreational and commercial fishers, marine tour operators and local associations.

Valuable input received from these groups has helped identify issues of concern which have been addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement. A majority of stakeholders consulted supported the project and saw the opportunities for sustainable seafood production, employment and provision of local services.

A short summary document has been prepared and will be sent to those contacted during the development of the Environmental Impact Statement and will also be made available on the web.

Fisheries NSW will also host information drop-in sessions during the exhibition period to allow for additional consultation with stakeholders.

Drop-in dates:

November 15
Port Stephens Fisheries Institute
10am 2pm

November 23
Hawks Nest Community Hall
3pm 6.30pm

Anyone interested in finding out more on Fisheries research and the research lease proposal can visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure is responsible for displaying the Environmental Impact Statement and receiving submissions. See www.planning.nsw.gov.au

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