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The commercial brine-shrimp farm, based in Port Gregory, has potential to create a new multi-million dollar industry in rural WA. (Photo: Stock File)

WA Minister opens innovative brine shrimp farm

Click on the flag for more information about Australia AUSTRALIA
Thursday, April 15, 2010, 03:10 (GMT + 9)

Western Australia (WA) Fisheries Minister Norman Moore opened a radical-design commercial brine-shrimp farm at Port Gregory near Geraldton on Tuesday.

Brine-shrimp, also known as artemia or sea monkeys, are a key ingredient in the food of commercially farmed fish and prawns.

An expert team led by Department of Fisheries scientist Sagiv Kolkovski developed the advanced technology to raise the animal in partnership with Cognis Australia, the world’s main producer of the naturally occurring red pigment beta-carotene, Moore said.

The farm is located at Cognis Australia’s Hutt Lagoon, Port Gregory plant, where the firm grows micro-algae and from which it extracts beta-carotene.

“This new facility has potential to create a new multi-million dollar industry in rural WA and will help lead to more sustainable fish farming practices both domestically and internationally,” Moore said.

“The development of this project marks the culmination of seven years’ research work, providing a much-needed source of high quality, sustainable fish-feed for Australian and international fish-farms. The project embodies the state government’s goal of promoting sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices and ensuring there are fish for future generations,” he added.

This development represents a collaboration between the state government, the aquaculture sector and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

“The collaboration models successful partnerships between government and industry,” Moore stated.

Artemia feed on micro-algae and is often considered a pest in the production of beta-carotene.

But the researchers’ new Artemia-rearing system can work effectively together with Cognis’ large-scale commercial micro-algae plant, turning the animal into an opportunity. Because it feeds on the highly nourishing algae, their artemia will be of the highest-grade quality and help lower reliance on imported artemia supplies and other unsustainable fish feed sources.

"We found an opportunity that, rather to kill them, we can cultivate them side by side with the algae, so they can eat the algae and you have another product in the facility that already exists," said Kolkovski, reports ABC.

These artemia will also help fill the regular gaps in supply to Australia’s commercial aquaculture industry as a result of market problems.

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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