Aquaculture needs cohesion to meet growing market
A leading authority in Australian aquaculture says state governments could help develop new fish farms.
It is part of a push to enhance Australia’s aquaculture sector take advantage of growing global demand for seafood.
David Williams, corporate advisor and managing director with investment group Kidder Williams, says local aquaculture projects will not expand on their own.
Mr Williams says there is investor interest in aquaculture ventures, there is a lack of big projects in the pipeline that investors would want to get involved with.
This is where state government can help, he said.
“They are packaging up bits of land and saying; 'look, here's a bit of land, who will bid for it and who will come and plant it and invest in it?' such as what the Western Australian Government has just done with stage two of the Ord [irrigation scheme],” Mr Williams told the ABC.
“That sort of investment can be done, in my opinion, also on water, because the water assets, the government has got plenty of.
“Each state has particular watercourses that could be in non-sensitive areas that could attract massive investment and provide not only output, but employment and so forth.”
Mr Williams said that while there are plenty of options in Australia, they can be located far from each other.
“You need to grow fish where the water is ideal for them, so as that turns out it's at the extremes of Australia, so you've got a lot of barramundi, a lot of prawns, a lot of other species, north of the Brisbane line and then you've got a lot of colder species, like salmon, which is the big driver of aquaculture in Australia down south of Hobart and on the west coast of Tasmania,” Mr Williams said.
But, he says, this creates serious logistical challenges in getting fish into supermarkets and restaurants around the country.
“If you haven't got scale, it's a nightmare and you are going to die by a thousand cuts,” he said.