Team pon­ders al­gae with fish, salt

Pilbara News - - News - Ben Leahy

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.”

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