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AUSTRALIA - New zone policy provides a boost for aquaculture industry

A new aquaculture zone policy for Lower Eyre Peninsula will provide a boost for South Australia’s aquaculture farmers, allowing for the potential expansion of the state’s $125 million Southern Bluefin Tuna industry

April 17, 2013

A new aquaculture zone policy for Lower Eyre Peninsula will provide a boost for South Australia’s aquaculture farmers, allowing for the potential expansion of the state’s $125 million Southern Bluefin Tuna industry.

Minister for Fisheries Gail Gago said the new zone covers an area of 7,563 hectares in the Lower Eyre Peninsula region and will accommodate farming of wild caught tuna, finfish, algae and molluscs including mussels, oysters and Abalone.

“The new zone is extremely important for future growth of the aquaculture industry in South Australia,” Ms Gago said.

“A new Lincoln (outer) sector will provide additional hectares for the farming of Southern Bluefin Tuna in deeper water.

“This is expected to provide multiple benefits with the availability of deeper waters enabling tuna operators to better replicate natural environments meaning fewer health issues, better quality fish and improved farm management practices.

“South Australia’s aquaculture industry has firmly established itself as a key contributor to our primary industries and regional communities.

“The aquaculture sector contributes 54% of the State’s total value of seafood production, valued at $229 million, and directly employs more than 1100 FTE positions, the majority of whom are employed in the Eyre Peninsula region.

“The finalization of this zone is a significant step in the sustainable development of South Australia’s valued aquaculture industry that will enhance our capability to capitalise on the increasing global demand for premium products that are clean, safe and produced in a sustainable and ethical manner.

“This policy clearly supports the State Government’s strategic priority of Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment,” she said.

Southern Bluefin Tuna is the state’s largest single sector, accounting for almost 55% of the State’s gross value of aquaculture production.

The completion of the policy follows a lengthy review process by PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Aquaculture Advisory Committee, which included a two month public consultation period in early 2012, and amendments to the zone to best accommodate community interests, recreational and commercial fishing, minimise transport concerns and protect sensitive habitats.

Public calls for the allocation of leasable area available to aquaculture farmers will involve an independent assessment of applications by the Aquaculture Tenure Allocation Board.

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