Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (13:31): Last week I had a visit from the assistant minister for fisheries, Anne Ruston. We visited a number of businesses in my electorate. In particular, we went to Cowell, where we visited the brand-new Eyre Peninsula oyster breeding hatchery. What a wonderful visit it was.
Some of you would be aware that we had an outbreak of Pacific oyster mortality syndrome in Tasmania about two years ago. Unfortunately, it revealed a security supply issue for the South Australian oyster industry-which is a wonderful industry within itself-with hot spots around Coffin Bay, Cowell, Smoky Bay and Port Vincent, for instance, where most of our spat was coming from Tasmania. Owing to the biological bans, there was no more spat for South Australia. At the moment we have a production drought, because we were so short for so long.
As a result of that, the minister put nearly $1 million into keeping the resistant oyster breeding program going. Also a group of local investors in Cowell in the industry decided to build a state-of-the-art new hatchery. It’s capable of doing up to 400 million spat a year, but is aiming for 120 million to 150 million in the first instance. It was a delight to go through and speak with the scientists about the breeding of triploids, and what they hope to do in that area. (Time expired)