First production milestone at new Albany Shellfish Hatchery

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By Milthon Lujan

Australia.- Aquaculture trials in the Pilbara, Kimberley, Abrolhos Islands and Cockburn Sound will be the beneficiaries of the first consignment of about 500,000 rock oyster spat, grown at the State Government’s new Albany Shellfish Hatchery.

The new state-of-the-art hatchery is supporting the growth and development of commercial shellfish farming in Western Australia, as well as creating and supporting WA jobs.

The hatchery is also working towards supplying juvenile seed stocks, known as spat, to aquaculture operations in other States.

Successful commercial-scale farming of shellfish, such as edible oysters, mussels, scallops and Akoya pearl oysters, depend on a reliable supply of very large quantities of spat.

Athair Aquaculture Pty Ltd has been appointed to operate the hatchery for three years, with an option for an additional two years.

The hatchery site was chosen for its access to exceptionally high-quality seawater from Albany’s King George Sound and existing infrastructure in Frenchman Bay, which was redeveloped and upgraded to specifically suit shellfish hatchery operations.

At full production, it is anticipated the Albany Shellfish Hatchery will produce about 600 million mussel spat per year and 80 million rock oyster spat annually.

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:

“Albany’s shellfish hatchery is supporting the development of WA’s south coast aquaculture industry, which is estimated to create around 350 direct and indirect jobs over 10 years.

“The bigger picture for the shellfish industry around the State suggests that over 900 direct and indirect jobs may be created in the sector.

“Aquaculture is an emerging industry with huge potential in Western Australia, and the McGowan Government is working to accelerate the industry’s development and growth.

“The State’s aquaculture shellfish sectors are currently worth about $3.5 million annually, and the new hatchery in Albany is estimated to increase the sector’s value by up to $12 million within five years.”

Comments attributed to Albany MLA Peter Watson:

“The State Government has invested in the refurbishment and operation of the Albany hatchery, to help ensure the shellfish industry can grow and create WA jobs.

“The south coast has a large and growing aquaculture industry, so this is an important milestone that shows the benefit of having a shellfish hatchery operating successfully in Albany.”

Source: Government of Western Australia

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