The McGowan Government has today announced the final stage of the Albany Aquaculture Zone, boosting investment opportunities to grow the State’s aquaculture industry.
The Albany Aquaculture Zone comprises a 500-hectare area in Oyster Harbour and around 310 hectares in Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound combined.
The upcoming Mid-Year Review will also include an additional $1.8 million for the Albany Shellfish Hatchery upgrade project. This is on top of the $700,000 provided as part of the WA Recovery Plan.
The $2.5 million upgrade will increase the capacity of the hatchery to support the growing aquaculture industry, expanding Akoya seeded line production by 100 per cent and rock oyster spat by 300 per cent.
The Oyster Harbour area was declared in August 2020 as Stage One of the Albany Aquaculture Zone development.
Aquaculture development zones provide ‘investment-ready’ platforms for large-scale aquaculture operators, with environmental approvals and management frameworks already in place.
At full capacity, the Albany Aquaculture Zone is expected to produce around 1,500 tonnes of shellfish at an estimated value of $30 million per year.
The areas to form Stage Two were identified following extensive consultation with the community and with prospective user groups.
Access is still permitted within aquaculture areas, provided there is no interference with aquaculture gear or farm operations.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) continues to work closely with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on the appropriate environmental management of the zone and with the Department of Health to ensure all shellfish produced in the zone meet the standards for human consumption.
Applications for aquaculture licences and leases within the Stage Two area of the zone are open from now until March 14, 2022, with DPIRD to make determinations on applications as soon as practicable after that date.
Further information about the Albany Aquaculture Zone and how to make an application is available here.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“Aquaculture is a rapid growth industry for Western Australia and for Albany – and one that has global potential.
“The finalisation of the zone provides a fantastic opportunity to promote Albany and its pristine waters on the world stage as a significant producer of premium-quality seafood for a growing world market.
“Albany locals and visitors will also have greater access to locally grown premium-quality shellfish that will complement existing products, such as South Coast fish and squid.
“Development of the aquaculture zone will generate significant employment in Albany, creating an estimated 200 direct jobs both on-farm and in specialist supply-chain industries such as hatcheries, shellfish processing and packaging, aquaculture equipment manufacturing and logistics.
“The provision of an additional $1.8 million for the Albany Shellfish Hatchery expansion will ensure the production capacity of spat and seed can keep up with the exciting growth the sector is experiencing.”
As stated by Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens:
“Albany is recognised as one of the best shellfish aquaculture locations in Australia and the development of this industry will be a boost to our economy.
“It will provide local jobs, drive business for local suppliers and contractors, and help keep our waterways clean and healthy.”