South Coast Bioregion
Abalone is considered a key species for aquaculture development on Western Australia’s south coast.
A land-based abalone farm and hatchery near Bremer Bay is being upgraded to cater for expansion and increasing biosecurity requirements. It is being run according to a Management and Environmental Monitoring Plan (MEMP) that includes provision for environmental protection and biosecurity.
An abalone farm near Augusta, using concrete structures on the sea bed, is achieving encouraging early results.
We have developed an abalone aquaculture policy, providing for the growth of the industry in a management framework that focuses on biosecurity.
Southern Inland Bioregion
The South West Freshwater and Aquaculture Centre at Pemberton has studied marron husbandry, selective breeding for yabbies and marron and the use of grains in aquaculture feeds. Commercial operators continue to build on the results.
Research is now focused on captive breeding programs for conserving endangered marron and native fish.
The Centre continues to supply trout fingerlings to the industry and for recreational restocking. But drought conditions plus increasing draw-off of catchment water for new agriculture ventures are threatening the hatchery’s viability.
West Coast Bioregion
One of our focus areas in the Abrolhos Islands is the regulation of the pearling industry, mainly for Akoya pearls, and other industry sectors such as octopus, marine finfish, coral and live rock (pieces of old coral reefs colonised by marine life, such as beneficial bacteria, for aquariums).
The results of a four-year trial of Akoya pearls, small white pearls from the oyster Pinctada fucata martensi, have shown potential for production in the Abrolhos.
Our Fish Health Unit has also worked with the Marine Fishfarmers Association and the Mid West Development Corporation on a successful project to test the feasibility of farming yellowtail kingfish in sea cages at Geraldton.
Funding has been provided to establish an aquaculture zone for marine finfish in this region. The funds will be used to undertake technical studies to secure environmental approval for the zone’s development. This will provide an ‘investment ready’ opportunity for organisations to establish aquaculture operations. It is hoped the zone will be in place by 2016.
Our focus is on regulating the regional pearling industry, mainly based on black pearls.
We are also supporting the emergence of a sector producing aquarium species, including coral.
A WA-based company is deveoping a specific pathogen-free hatchery in the region for the production of marine prawn seed stock, which it proposes to grow out in large land-based farms in northern WA.
North Coast Bioregion
Funding was provided to establish an aquaculture zone for marine finfish in this region. The funds were used to carry out technical studies to secure environmental approval for the zone’s development.
This is providing an ‘investment ready’ opportunity for organisations to establish aquaculture operations. The Kimberley Aquaculture Development Zone was declared by the Minister for Fisheries on 22 August 2014 and is the first aquaculture development zone to be established in Western Australia.
In addition, the region is being considered for the establishment of marine prawn farms on a very large scale, although the project is still in the early stages.
We are overseeing the development of aquaculture projects run by Aboriginal communities, including raising barramundi in sea cages and earthen ponds and growing cherabin (freshwater prawn) and edible rock oysters.