Port Stephens Fisheries Institute is currently hatching and growing fingerlings. (Photo: The New South Wales Fisheries Institute/FIS Stock)
Potential fish farm at NSW faces opposition
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
The New South Wales Fisheries Institute wants to build a fish farm, but it is facing opposition from those concerned that it will pollute the area, even though farms already exist in South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Port Stephens Fisheries Institute is currently hatching and growing fingerlings.
Ian Lyall, manager of Aquaculture with Fisheries New South Wales, is finishing up the planning of a five-year experiment to farm hundreds of thousands of mulloway and yellowtail kingfish off Port Stephens in large cages, ABC reports.
He noted that NSW’s situation is different from that of South Australia because these regions have disparate environmental conditions.
“We really need to see what's happening on our New South Wales coastline to make sure that this can be done sustainably and that the fish we choose, the species we choose, are suitable for this area,” he stated.
Peter Hoffbauer, owner of Fishermen's Wharf Seafoods at Nelson Bay, also thinks it’s a good idea, as even though Australia lacks large fisheries, demand for seafood is very high and continues to rise. Hoffbauer said that fishers are now bringing in a lot less fish than they did just nine years ago.
“We really need food security to ensure that we can produce that seafood,” Lyall told.
Opponents, including some skippers, worry about too much affluent flowing to the seabed from the cages and contaminating the surrounding ecosystem.
Lyall, however, is hoping to have feeding efficiency for the yellowtail kingfish -- as low as 1-1.7 per 1kg of feed.
“So in terms of pollution, we think through the species and the diet and our management we will reduce any impact quite significantly and there won't be an impact,” he argued.
Another concern is aesthetics -- the area will look industrial once dozens of pens of fish are set up.
The New South Wales Planning Minister will soon determine whether to give the farm the go-ahead.
By Natalia Real