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Australia's First Commercial Sponge Farm

AUSTRALIA - In a first for Australia, the Federal Government has given the green light to establish a commercial sponge farm which will be located in the waters of the Torres Strait.

According to ABC news, the decision was announced at a meeting of scientists from the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility and the board of the Torres Strait Regional Authority on Thursday Island off far north Queensland.

Biotechnologist Libby Evans-Illidge says the Environment Department has given verbal approval to grow the common bath sponge in mesh cages off Masig Island.

She says it is a great opportunity for the Islanders to develop a profitable business.

"It's a very well established market and it's currently being supplied through wild harvest fisheries which are in decline around the world," she told ABC news.