Push for Pilbara aquaculture hub

Ben Leahy and Courtney FowlerNorth West Telegraph
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The Pilbara Development Commission hopes to develop a large aquaculture industry in the region, which can capitalise on increasing global demand for seafood.

The PDC’s comments come after the State Government last year committed to increasing aquaculture production in the State and plans to hold a major forum in Perth on May 26.

The forum brings together eight State development commissions, who each identified “aquaculture as a transformational economic growth opportunity” for their regions.

PDC chief executive Terry Hill said WA’s pristine environments and advanced research facilities meant it was well placed to become a major seafood exporter.

“The Pilbara boasts extensive coastline and expansive undeveloped land that places us in a strong position to establish an aquaculture industry,” he said.

Retiring Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan also spruiked the region’s aquaculture opportunities at a Pilbara local government forum held in Shenzhen in China last month.

She said seafood would increasingly play a larger role in feeding the world and Asia’s growing populations.

“Aquaculture is now scaling up as a percentage of the food supply around the world,” she said.

“(I) like to stress northern Australia’s distinct advantage because of its long coastline, pristine waters and availability of suitable land in close proximity to Asia.”

She said advancements had also been made in so-called “closed-loop” aquaculture, which meant seafood could be produced without allowing excess feed or nutrients to contaminate nearby oceans or waterways.

She said a leading example was the Kimberley’s Cone Bay where a 2000ha aquaculture zone was being developed.

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