Western Australia commits to aquaculture growth
The state government has joined with industry to declare its commitment to Western Australia’s aquaculture industry, recognizing it as a legitimate user of the state’s land and aquatic resources. Launching the statement in Fremantle, premier and science minister Colin Barnett and fisheries minister Ken Baston said the government recognized aquaculture as a strategically important industry.
“WA has several sustainable competitive advantages for large-scale aquaculture development and significant capacity for growth and investment,” Barnett said. “Now is the time to focus on opportunities in aquaculture. The government is working with industry in several key areas identified in the Statement of Commitment.
These include providing certainty of access to aquatic resources; developing investment-ready aquaculture zones; continuing to reduce regulation; providing strong fish health capability; and facilitating investment,” he added.
Barnett said the state government’s recently released science statement — Growing Western Australia — articulated the fields of science to be prioritized to exploit WA’s natural advantages and build on existing areas of expertise to broaden the state’s economy. “Both agriculture and food as well as marine science have been identified as priority science areas,” he said. “There is no doubt that scientific endeavor and developments will have a big role to play in the future success of this industry.”
Baston said the government was committed to establishing aquaculture zones in areas that offered sustainable competitive advantages. “Having established an aquaculture zone at Cone Bay in the Kimberley, the government will also be expediting the completion of a zone off Geraldton to help boost existing finfish projects in the area,” Baston said.
“We will explore opportunities for further aquaculture development on the south coast, where the abalone aquaculture sector is demonstrating strong growth prospects, as well as in the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions,” he said.
“We are working with industry to identify opportunities for a multi-species mollusc hatchery to support growth in existing and emerging sectors such as mussels, black-lip pearl oysters, edible oysters and scallops,” the minister said.
Baston said the government would continue to improve the efficiency and transparency of regulatory processes, while strengthening the rights of aquaculture licence holders.