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Legislation needs to support WA industry, says Minister

AUSTRALIA - A taskforce is examining the merits of developing an Aquaculture Bill for Western Australias growing and diverse aquaculture industry.

Fisheries Minister Jon Ford said there was a real need to develop WA’s aquaculture industry and the taskforce's role would be important in assessing the most effective way forward.

“Currently, the laws governing aquaculture activities in the State are incorporated within the Fish Resources Management Act. The taskforce, which I established this year, will determine the advantages, disadvantages, costs and benefits of developing a dedicated Aquaculture Bill,” said Mr Ford.

The seven-member taskforce has representatives from across the aquaculture, recreation and commercial fishing industries. Conservation and government interests are also represented.

The Minister believes that there is great potential for WA aquaculture, however expansion must be supported by realistic legislation, that offers effective management, but also ensures sustainability and environmental protection.

Outstanding contribution
Mr Ford said the Aquaculture Development Unit (ADU), based at Challenger TAFE in Fremantle, had done an outstanding job in carrying out significant research and development for the aquaculture industry and government.

“The unit has helped develop revolutionary aquaculture technologies, including floating tanks that are currently being assessed for growing fish in inland saline water,” he added.

Testing is currently under way for a Semi-Intensive Floating Tank System (SIFTS) at Northam and a 50 tonne system is presently being installed in Fremantle Harbour. The ADU was also involved in an open ocean aquaculture program for the Aquaculture Development Council, which was working with international institutions.

“This project is expected to include a pilot farm that will be established to expand the ongoing research into potential opportunities for WA,” said Mr Ford. “I also congratulate the ADU at Challenger TAFE for its award-winning work in culturing black bream and restocking in the Blackwood River Estuary.”

Major species being produced by commercial aquaculture in Western Australia include mussels, barramundi, abalone, western rock oysters, silver perch, trout, non-maxima pearl oysters, marron, yabbies and algae.

the Fish Site Editor

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