Aquaculture Zone Lures Commercial Interest20 February 2013
AUSTRALIA - The Department of Fisheries says there is significant commercial interest in a mid-west aquaculture zone that is currently being established off the Geraldton coast.
The department is consulting with fishers over two proposed sites for the zones - one north of Geraldton and one east of the Abrolhos Islands, reports ABCNews.
It has invested more than A$1 million organising environmental approvals at two sites in the mid-west and Kimberley to try to encourage other producers to enter the market.
The department's Steve Nell says creating a zone will significantly reduce start-up times for operators.
"For a private company to come in and do an environmental assessment, the time it takes is in the vicinity of two years or more," he said.
"By the time we've finished this process, that two year or greater than two-year period will be reduced to a period of six to eight weeks.
"So that's a substantial saving in money and time for future commercial operators."
He says once the sites are finalised, the department will look at seeking environmental assessment to fast-track approvals for industry.
"I think it does represent a fairly exciting stage in the development of the industry on the mid-west coast because broadly people in the country tend to think of that area as having substantial capacity for development because of its competitive advantages in relation to being so close to Geraldton - a coastal city with access to very good seawater," he said.
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