Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies Tim Mulherin this week opened the new AU$5.2 million Aquaculture Nutrition Research Facility and refurbishment of existing facilities at the Bribie Island Research Centre.
Mr Mulherin said the opening is a boost for the Queensland aquaculture industry.
“The aquaculture industry provides employment for a diversity of skills and currently contributes $103 million to the Queensland economy.
“The opening of this facility will help drive growth in the aquaculture industry with scientists at the centre conducting important research into improving prawns and barramundi stocks.”
Member for Pumicestone Carryn Sullivan said the new facility and refurbished Research Centre would also be a great boost for the local Bribie Island community.
“The Bribie Island Research Centre currently hosts 30 employees who are working to improve breeds and production for a number of farmed fish and crustacean species,” she said.
“It is great for these dedicated scientists to enjoy these new facilities here on Bribie Island.
“Today is also the 20th anniversary of the Bribie Island Research Centre and I’m proud to note it is now regarded as one of the nation’s leading aquaculture research facilities.
“It has provided innovative, top quality home grown aquaculture, like prawns and barramundi and has supported the development of what is now a very lucrative industry for Queensland,” she said.
This facility was purpose-built by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) at the Bribie Island Research Centre, which is operated by the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark said a number of world-class scientists would now be located under the one roof.
“CSIRO, with DEEDI’s blessing, decided to co-locate our aquaculture research capabilities with DEEDI at its Bribie Island Research Centre,” she said.
“This makes perfect sense as it will lead to some very exciting new partnerships and research outcomes which will only enhance the growth and prosperity of Australia’s aquaculture industry.”
Current or planned joint DEEDI/CSIRO aquaculture projects include:
- working with the Australian Prawn Farmers Association to assist producers in coastal areas of Queensland to improve energy efficiency by adopting alternative energy sources
- improving prawn breeding stocks by eliminating viruses which affect broodstock lines
- finding ways to better manage the carbon footprint of aquaculture farms in Queensland enabling prawn and barramundi farmers to adopt world-class sustainable production and environmental standards.
Mr Mulherin said the new facility would create some very exciting opportunities for Queensland’s aquaculture industry.
“For the past 50 years aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production sector in the world with an annual growth rate of seven percent,” he said.
“The Australian National Aquaculture Council has set an annual harvest target of 100,000 tonnes of seafood by 2015, double the production in 2004.
“Queensland has a significant role to play in meeting this challenge as a major contributor to the progressive growth and development of an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable Australian aquaculture industry.”