Team ponders algae with fish, salt
Hedland could be home to a multi-use algae complex near the salt works, a Pilbara Development Commission study has found.
Speaking at last week’s Hedland Economic and Resources Forum, PDC manager of strategy and knowledge Justin Fromm said the Pilbara could develop big algae and aquaculture industries.
He said his team recently undertook preliminary studies to identify locations for future developments.
As part of this, the PDC estimated it would cost about $65-$80 million to set up a multi-use algae farm in Port Hedland, close to the salt works, port and airport.
“The beauty about algae-culture is it has a lot of other synergistic uses,” Mr Fromm said.
“You could have algae and aquaculture together (or) algae, aquaculture and salt production together — a whole range of industries can be co-located.
“(This Port Hedland site) would be a multi-use precinct, we wouldn’t just do algae-culture, we would be investing in infrastructure that would suit a number of uses.”
His comments come as the PDC hopes to help lay the foundations for a big aquaculture industry to set up and be exporting from the Pilbara by 2035.
He said the PDC had identified potential algae-culture and oyster and finfish aquaculture sites across the region, including near Ashburton, Karratha and Hedland.
With wild fisheries near their maximum output and seafood demand still growing with rising global middle-class populations, Mr Fromm said aquaculture was now the fastest-growing primary industry in the world.
“It is growing twice as fast as meat and cereals, which are growing at about 3 per cent,” he said.
“Aquaculture has been growing at 6 per cent for at least the last two decades.”