Victorian Aquaculture Mussels Up With New Sites
Victoria's mussel growing industry in Port Phillip and Western Port is set to expand following the allocation of 65 hectares of water to six operators.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the recent public tender process, managed by the Victorian Fisheries Authority, saw significant interest from local mussel growers keen to take on more sites to expand production.
Victoria's annual production of mussels is more than 1,000 tonnes, is worth over $3 million and is on the rise thanks to increasing exports to Asia and America, which supporting jobs in regional Victoria.
Port Phillip and Western Port are the home of shellfish aquaculture in Victorian. The industry has been established for over 30 years and has a proven track record of growing premium quality seafood.
Twelve of the 13 sites allocated, all in existing aquaculture reserves, were taken up by current licence holders already growing mussels.
The 12 sites, once up and running and at full capacity in two to three years, could produce a further 210 tonnes of mussels every year.
This latest tender process has resulted in several aquaculture reserves now having all sites fully allocated, including Grassy Point and Dromana in Port Phillip and Flinders in Western Port.
They complement other fully allocated aquaculture reserves from previous tenders at Mount Martha and Clifton Springs.
Port Phillip and Western Port are ideal locations for marine aquaculture because they have clean oceanic and bay water of the right temperatures to grow shellfish, and are close to markets, transport and research facilities at Queenscliff's successful shellfish hatchery.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
"It's great to see local mussel growers investing in the industry, which provides fresh and sustainable seafood for Victorians, as well as regional jobs and exciting export opportunities that take advantage of our clean, green image."
"The new sites are predicted to double the area available for mussel, oyster and abalone aquaculture in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port, and will supply Melbourne's restaurants and export markets."