VENTUREAXESS’S wide range of investments includes a small firm at Jurien Bay that is tackling one of the key challenges facing the global aquaculture industry.
Aquaculture Research and Marketing (ARM) is aiming to be the first company in the world to commercially cultivate a native species of brine shrimp, which is the main feedstock for many aquaculture ventures in countries around the globe.
Fish farms and prawn farms in particular rely on brine shrimp as their main feedstock during the nursery and hatchery phase.
The supply of brine shrimp is almost entirely from wild harvests in China and the Great Lakes of North America, and the limited and sometimes unreliable supply is seen as a barrier to growth of the global aquaculture industry.
VentureAxess chairman Geoff Mullins said ARM had successfully bred native brine shrimp in laboratory conditions and was planning to build a commercial breeding and cultivation facility.
WA’s Department of Fisheries is also pursuing several initiatives to tackle the problems posed by the limited supply of brine shrimp.
It is working with beta carotene producer Cognis to cultivate introduced species of brine shrimp.
The algae grown by Cognis provides a ready supply of food for the brine shrimp.
Fisheries scientist Sagiv Kolkovski is part of a national research project helping to develop an alterative solution.
His project is working on an alternative feedstock known as formulated micro-diets, which offer both assured supply and potential cost savings.
Dr Kolkovski is the principal investigator of the micro-diet project, which involves Queensland’s James Cook University, Challenger TAFE in Fremantle and Spanish collaborators and a number of commercial aquaculture companies around Australia.
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