21/11/2014 - 14:58

Approval achieved for Augusta abalone

21/11/2014 - 14:58

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The state government has granted approval for an Augusta-based aquaculture company to expand its abalone production.

Approval achieved for Augusta abalone
Ocean Grown directors Peter Kestel (left), Ian Riccardi, Brad Adams, Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston and Craig Kestel in the newly opened Augusta marina.

The state government has granted approval for an Augusta-based aquaculture company to expand its abalone production.

The company, Ocean Grown Abalone, would be able to produce up to 100 tonnes of the seafood annually.

A tonne of abalone sold to China reportedly fetches $150,000, and Western Australia’s abalone exports totalled $11 million in 2013-14, according to the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Of that figure, around $4 million was sold to China and $5 million exported to Japan.

Premier Colin Barnett said Ocean Grown had developed an innovative production system and the approval would enable abalone farming on a commercial scale.

“The network of structures designed and trialled by the company provides a habitat for the abalone, making it different from most other ocean farms around the world which use suspended enclosures and require special feeding,” he said.

“The more natural open ocean environment is less stressful on the abalone as they feed naturally off drifting seaweed, which in turn reduces the biosecurity risks of the ocean farming operations.

“The new Flinders Bay lease sites will still allow people to enjoy recreational pursuits and fishing in the area, enabling the company and the community to share the benefits the ocean provides.”

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the state government had recently declared an aquaculture development zone in the Kimberley’s Cone Bay, and hoped the industry could mature in the state.

In July this year, WA agribusiness Craig Mostyn Group purchased Australia’s largest abalone farm in Victoria, with production of around 200,000t per year.

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