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. It is being run according to a biosecurity plan (aimed at preventing the incidence and spread of diseases) developed with our input.
An abalone farm near Augusta, using concrete structures on the sea bed, is achieving encouraging early results.
We are monitoring an abalone virus outbreak in Victoria and Tasmania and have taken steps to prevent it entering WA.
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 black 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).
Given the increasing interest in aquaculture around the Abrolhos Islands, we are developing an aquaculture policy for the area.
Research is continuing on growing wild-caught juvenile octopus to market size and larval rearing.
The results of a four-year trial of Akoya pearls, small white pearls from the oyster Pinctada fucata martensi, have also 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, including indigenous groups, to establish aquaculture operations. It is hoped the zone will be in place by 2014.
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.
North Coast Bioregion
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.
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, including indigenous groups, to establish aquaculture operations. It is hoped the zone will be in place by 2013.