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Brumby Government Secures Mussel Industry Growth

AUSTRALIA - The Brumby Government is helping the Victorian mussel industry secure its future by jointly funding a $1.7 million collaborative shellfish research project.

The project, to run over five years, includes establishing a hatchery at the Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Queenscliff facility.

While visiting the hatchery in Queenscliff today, Minister Responsible for Fisheries Joe Helper said the research would improve mussel farming productivity and competitiveness as outlined in the recently released Victorian Aquaculture Strategy.

"The new strategy includes a research and development agreement between the Brumby Government and the aquaculture industry to reliably produce more mussels in the future," Mr Helper said.

"Under the agreement, mussel breeders have formed a consortium - the Victorian Shellfish Hatchery - which will then collaborate with researchers from the Department of Primary Industries, using the hatchery facilities at Queenscliff to improve mussel spat production.

"As part of the agreement, the Brumby Government and industry members will jointly contribute funds toward research and infrastructure to establish and operate the hatchery.

"The project will see industry benefit from the research results, including enhancing spat supply to the mussel farming industry."

Mr Helper said the project would result in a reliable supply of mussel spat in a hatchery environment to address a major constraint currently faced by the mussel industry.

"Victoria is one of the largest mussel producers in Australia but recently our mussel production has declined, predominantly as a result of poor wild mussel spat fall," he said.

"This project will also apply the latest technology to examine mussel genetics in order to maximise the survival, growth and quality of mussels produced now and in the future.

"The establishment of the consortium is a positive example of strong collaboration between the Brumby Government and the aquaculture industry.

"The benefits will be seen in the improvements to mussel farming productivity and competitiveness."

The Victorian mussel industry is a significant employer generating economic benefits for coastal communities.

More information on the Victorian Aquaculture Strategy can be found by visiting http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/aquaculture.

Ellen Hardy

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