New Fish Health Centre to support industry growth

13 August 2015

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture

A $1.6 million State, Federal and industry funded fish health facility at Mt Pleasant is the centerpiece of a plan to make Tasmania an internationally recognised centre-of-excellence for the aquaculture industry.

The new facility, jointly funded by the Hodgman Liberal Government, the Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, provides a 60-tank bio-secure site focused on hatch to harvest diagnostic, research and preventative programs for the aquaculture industry.

The bio-secure fish facility will utilise the resources of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment's Animal Health Laboratories to help create a Centre for Aquatic Animal Health - with a vision to become internationally recognised for the aquatic animal health diagnosis and research work that it undertakes.

Mr Rockliff said the new facility, which was boosted by the Hodgman Liberal Government's election commitment, will also play a major role in helping grow Tasmania's salmon industry, currently valued at $500 million per year, to a $1 billion sector by 2030.

``To continue to grow the industry sustainably requires an investment in the health of the stock as well as looking for opportunities to increase production to ensure we can help maintain Tasmania's world-renowned reputation for the quality of its salmon.

``To ensure industry can continue to produce a high quality product requires the ability to identify and prevent disease and other factors that impact on fish health.

``The value of this facility goes well beyond the research infrastructure and expertise which will be showcased on the site.''

Mr Rockliff said that it also highlighted the significance of partnerships between governments, research and development and industry that are the foundations of the primary industries sectors.

Senator Richard Colbeck welcomed the opening of the bio-secure fish health facility and said it would help to further strengthen and expand the aquaculture industry in Tasmania.

"The Federal Government recognises the importance of the fisheries sector to regional economies such as Tasmania and this research facility will help ensure the growth of the sector into the future.

"Through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, the Federal Government has contributed funding towards the construction of this facility and we hope it will become recognised as a national centre of excellence in fish health, specialising in diseases of farmed fish."

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