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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Agriculture,Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation
The Hon Gail Gago MLC
South Australian Minister for the River Murray
The Hon Karlene Maywald
13 September 2006
The Waikerie Inland Saline Aquaculture Centre was officially opened today as part of $2.06 million Australian and South Australian Government commitment to developing a more sustainable inland fishing industry.
Funded through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP), the Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell; Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran; South Australian Minister for the Environment and Conservation, Gail Gago, and Minister for the River Murray, Karlene Maywald, all voiced their support for the project.
Senator Campbell said the facility is researching fish farming techniques using saline groundwater discharged from Salt Interception Schemes along the Murray River.
“This facility is the first of its kind in Australia – turning discharged saline groundwater into a valuable resource that could one day help meet Australia’s love for seafood,” Senator Campbell said.
“Last year Australia imported 7,000 tonnes of basa and 8,000 tonnes of hake to compensate for limited amounts of fish available in our own waters. By 2013 we hope to have a $20 million inland aquaculture industry based on Waikerie that can support Australian demand,” he said.
Minister McGauran said the facility is currently researching farming practices using mulloway fish.
“Results have proved that mulloway thrives in saline groundwater, whilst still being of the highest quality for eating,” Mr McGauran said.
Minister Gago said the project was initiated by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) through the Centre for Natural Resource Management, and aimed to attract private sector investment in commercial aquaculture parks.
“Located six kilometres south-west of Waikerie, the facility is aligned with the Woolpunda Salt Interception pipeline which discharges saline groundwater into the Stockyard Plains Disposal Basin,” Ms Gago said.
Minister Maywald noted that apart from helping our fishing industry, this project would have knock-on benefits for the local economy – attracting small business and subsequent employment opportunities.
“I congratulate SARDI’s great work and wish them well with future research,” Ms Maywald said.
For more information on the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality visit www.nrm.gov.au
For more information on SARDI visit www.sardi.gov.au.
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902
Nancy Joseph (Minister McGauran) 02 6277 7520
Jonathon Brooks (Minister Gago) 08 8463 5695 or 0434 606 952