skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Prospective zones

Albany Aquaculture Development Zone

Government has invested $1.3 million to identify and establish Aquaculture Development Zones on the south coast of WA. A new zone on the south coast off Albany will offer “investment-ready” opportunities for large-scale commercial shellfish aquaculture. At full capacity, resulting shellfish farming operations are expected to create more than 200 direct jobs.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), in consultation with the aquaculture industry, identified several areas of coastal waters off the south coast suitable for shellfish farming and has undertaken environmental studies to ensure the sustainability of commercial shellfish farming in those areas.

When fully declared, the Albany Aquaculture Development Zone (Zone) will encompass four separate areas, comprising a total of 998 hectares. These are:

  1. an area in Oyster Harbour, comprising approximately 500 hectares;
  2. two areas in King George Sound (near Mistaken Island and in Frenchmans Bay); and
  3. an area in Princess Royal Harbour.

Existing farms operate within the boundaries of the Albany Aquaculture Development Zone - Oyster Harbour Area. These existing sites occupy 173.819 hectares out of the total Oyster Harbour area.

Zone Characteristics

Water circulation in the Albany region, especially in Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound, is primarily wind driven and tides are relatively weak. 

King George Sound is primarily a salt-water ecosystem with minimal or no influence of freshwater flow or runoff and well protected from the otherwise high-energy wave climate of the southwest. 

Oyster Harbour and Princess Royal Harbour ecosystems are more estuarine. Oyster Harbour in particular is characterised by seasonal fluctuations in salinity due to river flows, which contribute to stratification in both salinity and temperature. The nutrient budget in Oyster Harbour is heavily influenced by inflows from the King and Kalgan rivers, both of which have agriculture-dominated catchments.  Princess Royal Harbour is generally well mixed but occasionally experiences weak stratification.

All the areas of the Zone are close to Albany, a city in the Great Southern Region of WA, and consequently aquaculture operations located within the Zone have good access to local services, trades and social amenities. Located in the Albany Aquaculture Park in Frenchman Bay, the Albany Shellfish Hatchery is well placed to supply seed stocks to commercial growout projects within the Zone.

The site and species selection process, which includes comprehensive consideration of environmental impact, has assessed the Zone as suitable for edible shellfish (primarily oysters and mussels). 

Consultation

 
The Zone development process has involved a staged approach, including research of the physical environment to determine potential sites and species, followed by several rounds of consultation with local communities and stakeholders.

The proposal was further refined through a series of independent research assessments to address issues raised in the consultation process and by the Government agencies involved.

Environment Assessment

 
In liaison with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, DPIRD determined that the Zone development process was not required to go through a formal EPA strategic assessment process, in recognition that the aquaculture species to be farmed are environmentally benign.

DPIRD has, undertaken additional environmental assessments using independent science-based research and modelling. That work supported the view that the farming methods and species will likely have an insignificant negative impact on the environment and benthic habitats such as seagrass meadows.

Community

The zone has been developed taking into account the needs of multiple users, and strives to minimise any impact of aquaculture on other activities. Although the shellfish farming will involve the physical siting of aquaculture gear, the layout will allow vessels to travel through the farms to carry out activities such as recreational fishing.

To further support the Zone process, DPIRD, the Southern Ports Authority and the Department of Transport are developing a suitable framework for the approval of aquaculture activities within port-controlled waters.

Zone Declarations

 
The Zone will be declared in two stages:
  1. First stage: Oyster Harbour area (declared 7 August 2020).
  2. Second stage: proposed areas in Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound (declaration will occur once formal negotiations with the Southern Ports Authority have been completed).

 

Last modified: 21/10/2020 3:02 PM

wa.gov.au

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745

Copyright

© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.

Disclaimer

The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.