The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Seafood sector:
A Tasmanian scientist has been honoured with a prestigious national award for helping to unlock the mystery of a deadly virus decimating the oyster industry.
11 April 2018
An innovative school program is setting-up Tasmanian youngsters for jobs in one of our boom industries: salmon farming. Huonville High School, in the state’s south, has introduced a course in aquaculture which specifically trains grade 11 and 12 students for jobs in the salmon industry. It was introduced by teacher Steve Harrison who recently won a national award for his efforts. Mr Harrison – one of 12 teachers to win a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award – told the Australian Financial Review: "We set-up our training organisation as though it was a workplace,” adding typical jobs students may take-on, included fish farm attendant, or as feed controller. The students leave school well equipped with a Certificate Two in Aquaculture and Maritime Operations. Huonville High School is ideally located to teach aquaculture. It is at the epicentre of salmon farming which is one of Tasmania’s biggest industries, pumping some $700m into the economy every year and directly employing around three thousand people.
11 April 2018, Edition 193
Local fishermen enjoyed a bonanza at the expense of Huon Aquaculture when about 20,000 farmed yellow-tailed kingfish escaped from one of five "fortress pens" being used in a fish-farming research project near Port Stephens, NSW. A spear-fishing group shot 60 of the large fish near Broughton Island, reaching their bag limit in an hour, while a commercial fisherman said he had taken six tonnes in a session, some of them scooped on board with a net. The pellet-raised fish are attracted to boat noises, making them easy prey. The fish escaped when rough weather on 18 January breached one of a number of pens used in the joint venture between Huon Aquaculture and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Kingfish are endemic to the area and the escapees descend from local stock, but environmentalists expressed concerns about the impact they could have on the local ecosystem. The department said: “DPI doesn’t believe that the number of fish remaining at large is significant in terms of the total wild yellowtail kingfish population in the area.” A spokesperson for Huon Aquaculture said more than 3,000 kingfish had been recaptured and the company was not concerned that the equipment failure would impact on its plans to use identical pens for salmon farming in Tasmania’s Storm Bay. “Preliminary findings ... indicate the nets detached from the sea pen as a result of barnacles cutting through ropes,” she said. The species of barnacle that did the damage does not occur in Tasmania.
8 March 2018, Edition 192
Danish-owned BioMar Australia has released plans to develop a $56 million fish-feed facility at Wesley Vale. Managing Director, Paddy Campbell, said construction would start in July, subject to planning approval. The first fish-food pellets would be produced in September 2019. The project will generate 55 direct jobs in the northern's town moribund particle board mill. Dr Campbell said at least 30 additional jobs would be created across the region through various service and logistical roles. He promised a "world-class, state-of-the-art operation that would produce up to 110,000 tonnes of pellets a year. “At the moment we are exporting $65 million worth of aqua feed to Tasmania,” Dr Campbell said. “Tasmania is the centre for aquaculture in Australia ... we’ve already got customers here and there’s a strong business case to be here.” BioMar exports to Tasmania from factories in Scotland and Chile. As well as supplying local fish farms, the Wesley Vale plant will export to New Zealand and other countries.
8 February 2018, Edition 191
Brand Tasmania's long-serving Food and Wine Writer, Graeme Phillips, taps out his final story for our newsletter: serving up a 37-year Tasmanian gastronomic saga.
5 December 2017, Edition 190
The Tasmanian Government has invested $1.2 million to help upgrade Analytical Services Tasmania to become a world-class laboratory that can service the State's seafood industry. The Minister for Primary Industries, Jeremy Rockliff, told the Shellfish Futures Industry Annual Conference: "This will provide a fast reliable service supporting not only our shellfish sector but lobster, abalone, scallop and clam industries ... We’re continuing to work in partnership with industry to ensure we have a modern and effective system that guarantees quality of our shellfish product, protects our brands and provides market access." Mr Rockliff said $765,000 had been allocated in this year’s Budget to assist the oyster industry's recovery from the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome outbreak last summer.
5 December 2017, Edition 190
Scientists are working with oyster farmers to reduce the impact of a likely outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome this summer. Last year's outbreak has caused an impending oyster shortage this festive season and signs of the virus are expected to emerge again when water temperatures consistently reach 18C, most likely later in December. The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science has a research team working with growers on ways of reducing mortality in POMS-affected areas through husbandry and farm-management adjustments affecting oyster size and age, handling, stocking densities, positioning of oysters in the water column, and the cooling of oysters. Dr Sarah Ugalde said: “Mechanical grading is quicker, but much more stressful for the oyster compared to grading by hand and this may make them more susceptible to the virus.” POMS was first detected in Tasmanian waters in January 2016 and spread to five growing areas — Little Swanport, Blackman Bay, Pittwater, and Pipe Clay Lagoon — causing widespread oyster deaths that resulted in financial stress and job losses among oyster growers.
5 December 2017, Edition 190
Endangered Tasmanian giant freshwater lobsters in a northern Tasmanian refuge have produced more than 30 precious babies. As the little lobsters swam about in specially chilled water tanks at the Lobster Ponds Haven, near Wynyard, Manager Kevin Hyland said: “This event may be a world first. It really is very exciting and [is a result of] the years of work started by [the late] Don Bramich, who established the premises in 2003.” The Tasmanian giant freshwater lobster is the biggest freshwater invertebrate on earth and is only found in northern Tasmanian streams and rivers that flow into Bass Strait. Lobsters live for up to 40 years and can reach a metre in length – as big as a small dog. Habitat destruction has reduced wild populations and the State and Federal governments recently enacted new protective measures. The Moo Brew brewery launched a special Lobster Ale to raise funds to help with their protection. Salmon farmer Tassal has also pitched in as a sponsor of Lobster Ponds Haven, paying for water chillers that keep lobster tanks close to natural river temperatures. The Tasmanian Community Fund has provided $30,000 for a solar-powered system of temperature control, while the Cradle Coast Authority’s NRM scheme has paid for interpretative signage on the site. The community-run refuge attracts about 1,650 visitors a year, some of them expecting to eat its protected inmates. Numbers are now likely to grow with an unexpected new generation on show.
6 November 2017, Edition 189
Huon Aquaculture has unveiled a plan for a $30 million on-shore salmon-raising facility at Port Huon. Part of a $65 million investment program for 2017–18, the land-based, concrete salmon pens will be used to grow smolt to about 600gm, compared with the 200gm fingerlings generally delivered to sea cages from land-based hatcheries. The Huon Valley Council has approved demolition work, excavations and retaining wall construction at the site and the Environmental Protection Authority will consider the proposal this month. Huon Aquaculture’s Managing Director, Peter Bender, told The Mercury the company considered a combination of land-based and off-shore operations to be the best option for further aquaculture expansion in Tasmania.
6 November 2017, Edition 189
Seaweed extracts produced by Tasmanian biopharmaceutical company Marinova are proving effective in the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
5 November 2017, Edition 189