Abrolhos aquaculture could create hundreds of jobs: Premier

Geraldton Guardian
Environmental approval has been granted for a large-scale aquaculture zone at the Abrolhos Islands.
Camera IconEnvironmental approval has been granted for a large-scale aquaculture zone at the Abrolhos Islands. Credit: Michael Wilson, The West Australian

A large-scale aquaculture development zone at the Abrolhos Islands, which could mean the creation of up to 1400 jobs, has been given environmental approval by the State Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

The 3000ha Mid-West Aquaculture Development area is set to be the second large-scale aquaculture development zone in WA.

The zone, which is expected to be formally declared open next month, will use floating sea cages to grow marine finfish which are native to the region.

The zone will be managed by the Fisheries, with set limits on tonnes of fish to be cultured and stocking densities.

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Mr Dawson said the project would be subject to strict environmental conditions.

“The relatively deep (35m-45m), clean, well-flushed waters and open, sandy sea floor are features that will contribute to minimal environmental impact from the proposed aquaculture activity,” he said.

“Conditions imposed by the (Environmental Protection Authority) ensure the environmental values of the Abrolhos Islands will be protected and there will be no adverse impacts on the viability of the islands’ populations of Australian sea lions and seabirds.”

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said it was a step in the right direction for the future of aquaculture in the State, with the Mid West well-placed to take advantage of the rising global demand for quality seafood products.

“The foundations have been laid for aquaculture investors to begin production in Western Australia without having to go through the laborious process of planning approvals,” he said.

“The establishment of this development zone reduces red tape, which means avoiding critical time delays while delivering on business needs and keeping our environmental integrity.”

Premier Mark McGowan said the aquaculture zone would provide opportunity for up to 1400 jobs.

“Aquaculture is an industry with huge potential to create new, long-term jobs for Western Australians,” he said.

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