28/08/2020 | David Basham MP | More Jobs

Aquaculture businesses in the eastern Spencer Gulf would be able to take part in an estimated $140 million a year commercial seaweed industry with the potential to create 1,200 jobs, under proposed zoning changes to allow algae farming.

The game-changing new industry processes seaweed into a livestock feed supplement which has been found to convert more energy from a cow’s digestive system into growing meat and cuts methane production and emissions by half.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said public consultation was now open on the draft policy outlining proposed changes to allow algae to be farmed in three aquaculture zones in Hardwicke Bay.

“Research conducted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute suggests the commercial growing of algae represents a unique, high-value opportunity for South Australia,” said Minister Basham.

“The market for a seaweed feed additive will reach beyond local farmers with export opportunities to California and other places where methane emissions reduction targets have been set on cattle.

“Southern Australia has one of the highest diversity of seaweeds in the world, with over 1,500 species known to occur here providing huge potential.

“It has been estimated that if commercial production systems and processes can be established, seaweed production in the state could be worth $140 million a year within three years.

“Revenue from processing the seaweed could add a further $250 million per year to the economy and support 1,200 South Australian jobs.

“This would provide a significant boost to the value of aquaculture production in South Australia, which was valued at $211 million in 2018–19.

“The seaweed market reaches far beyond feeding cattle, as seaweed can be used as a sustainable food source for humans and in eco-friendly bio-plastics, fertilizer, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. There’s strong potential for this to be a key growth sector for our state.

“Algae production is already permitted in the rest of the eastern Spencer Gulf aquaculture zone and extending algae farming to the Hardwicke Bay aquaculture zones, will broaden opportunities for aquaculture businesses in South Australia to enter this valuable market.”

Public consultation is now open on the proposed changes to the Aquaculture (Zones – Eastern Spencer Gulf) Amendment Policy 2020. The Department of Primary Industries and Regions is seeking feedback from industry participants, investors, and the wider community on the farming of algae in the Hardwicke Bay aquaculture zones.

Public consultation will be open until 5pm, Friday 23 October 2020. To find out more visit pir.sa.gov.au/easternspencergulf