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Working in Tasmania stories

Tasmania’s ‘blue-sky’ future

Tasmania's blue sky economy - Huon Aquaculture group

A transformative ‘blue economy’ research centre will further secure the future for the thousands of Tasmanians who rely on the ocean’s wealth – including father and daughter, Steve and Tori Percival.

It will also firmly establish Tasmania as a blue economy world leader.

‘Blue economy’ is a relatively new term. Its focus is on the sustainability of marine-based industries. In other words, the ‘blue’ resources from the oceans.

Importantly, this new Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will put Tasmania at the forefront of tackling both the opportunities and challenges that arise from our waters. It will bring together scientific experts in marine ecology, offshore renewable energy, marine engineering and aquaculture.

And, for the Percivals, who both depend on our world-class salmon industry for their livelihood, that’s great news indeed.

Blue boom
Tasmania's blue sky economy - sea

Tasmania's blue sky economy - sea

Eight trillion dollars. That’s how much the blue economy – or wealth from our oceans – is worth to the world each year.

And, the new multi-million-dollar CRC will ensure Tasmania becomes a global leader in this rapidly expanding sector, as a destination of choice for the world’s leading marine scientific minds.

Led by the University of Tasmania (UTAS), and based at Launceston’s Australian Maritime College, the CRC will be a partnership between 45 different Government and industry groups from Australia and overseas who are involved in blue economy research.

"This is big blue-sky thinking fused with practical, impactful research to answer one of our planet’s most critical questions: How can we sustainably feed and power ourselves from the world’s oceans?” UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black explains.

"The Blue Economy CRC imagines a future where integrated seafood and renewable energy production systems operate offshore, and where the community and industry have confidence that they are safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible.

"This work will leave a compelling legacy of high-impact research, a competitive advantage for Australian industry, innovation, collaboration and leadership on a global scale.”

Fishing family
Tasmania's blue sky economy - fishing family

Tasmania's blue sky economy - fishing family

The lives of Tori and Steve Percival revolve around fish.

When they’re not away on fishing trips together, time is spent working in Tasmania’s salmon industry, and both see the enormous value of the CRC. 

Steve, a trained veterinarian, became farm manager at Huon Aquaculture 30 years ago when it was a fledgling operation with just six staff. There were no surprises when 27-year-old Tori followed in her father’s footsteps five years ago.

"There were times when I was about 10 years old, that I would be out on the water at 2am helping dad sample fish for different trials that he had going on. I took opportunities to be part of it whenever I could,” Tori says.

Tori is now Planning Manager at Huon Aquaculture, and Steve couldn’t be prouder.

"I have to pinch myself when we are sitting around the board table, and Tori is providing sales planning advice for the next five years,” he enthuses.

This proud dad has already seen the wonderful opportunities that salmon has given his daughter and is heartened that the CRC will further secure the future of the industry she has chosen.

Regional boost
Tasmania's blue sky economy - Huon Aquaculture

Tasmania's blue sky economy - Huon Aquaculture

Four thousand Tasmanians rely on salmon for their livelihood – especially in smaller regional communities. And it’s these areas that will benefit most from the new CRC.

It is estimated that the CRC could create an extra 2,500 jobs in Australia’s 'Blue Economy’ by 2035 as a result of scientific advances. Many of those jobs will be in salmon.   

"In the salmon industry a lot of the work is in remote rural areas where traditional employment opportunities, like fishing and forestry, have significantly declined. So, it’s incredibly important for those communities from a financial sense,” Steve says.

In the tight-knit Huon community south of Hobart, where Huon Aquaculture has its Dover base, salmon is more than a job. It’s a way of life.

"I work with a lot of great people, and they all come from backgrounds of growing up, and working around, the Dover area. Huon Aquaculture is quite literally their life,” Tori explains.

Salmon currently injects more than $800 million into the Tasmanian economy each year, and the CRC will be pivotal in ensuring its sustainable future.

"A lot of the CRC will be about new science, about new methods, about new techniques, and how the salmon industry can improve in the future,” Andrew Gregson from the Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association explains.

"It goes without saying that Tasmania is surrounded by water, and the effective and sustainable use of that water, and sharing that resource, is what will create a bright future for this State.”

Images courtesy of Huon Aquaculture and ABC News

28 May 2019, Edition 205

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Facts about Tasmania

Tasmania

Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.

Tasmania

Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.

Geography

Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.

Geography

The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.

Geography

About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.

Climate

Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.

Climate

In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.

Population

The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.

Flora

Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.

Flora

Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.

Fauna

Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.

Fauna

The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.

Fauna

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.

Economy

A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.

Economy

Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.

Economy

The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.

Economy

Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.

Economy

Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.

Economy

The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.

Economy

Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.

Economy

The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by Brand Tasmania © 2014–2019

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