A TOURISM group has welcomed an election announcement to build a fish hatchery in Two Rocks, but called for community consultation first.
The State Government has promised to build a $15 million aquaculture research and development facility in Two Rocks if re-elected this month.
Yanchep Two Rocks Tourism Network president and local business owner John Young welcomed the commitment.
“Anything that creates new employment opportunities for Two Rocks is fantastic,” he said.
“Before they put a fish hatchery or anything in Two Rocks, we would like them to consult with the people.
“We don’t want that to be plonked in the marina; we don’t want it to interfere with anything that the community are working on in terms of tourism.”
Mr Young said the network had been advocating for upgrades to the marina and solutions to coastal erosion problems north of the marina.
Premier Colin Barnett announced the plan at the Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR) centre at the Tafe maritime campus in Fremantle yesterday .
Mr Barnett said the Fremantle site was outdated and no longer fit for purpose with the lease on the buildings due to expire in June 2018.
“Production of juvenile fish is severely limited at the current facility, with required production predicted to almost double from 2.9 million fingerlings to 5.1 million by 2022,” he said.
“The new aquaculture hatchery is planned for government-owned land at Two Rocks; an ideal location with access to the marina, high quality sea water and freight links.”
Liberal candidate for Butler Linda Aitken said the facility would produce barramundi for the Kimberley, mulloway and yellowtail kingfish for the Mid-west, and bream, snapper and Swan River prawns for recreational restocking programs.
“The building and operating of this facility will be of great benefit to the people of Two Rocks, a place that has historically been known for its marine life and fishing industry,” she said.
Butler MLA John Quigley said, if elected on March 11, Labor would support the hatchery’s move as well.
“I’m pleased that ACAAR has selected Two Rocks to relocate its hatchery,” he said.
“It does sensational work in restocking our fish stocks.
“There needs to be full consultation with the Two Rocks community as to its exact location within the marina.
“The community see the ongoing future for the marina as a community and tourist attraction that obviously needs to be done up.”
Last May, Australian Venture Consultants provided a review of WA’s aquaculture research, training and service delivery capacity for the Training and Workforce Development.
That report said building a facility in Fremantle could cost $8-10 million, while building a new facility elsewhere could cost up to $20 million.
“Existing seawater bore infrastructure associated with the former Atlantis sea world facility in Two Rocks is an option,” it said.
“The site would need to be acquired or leased from a private landholder.
“The seawater intake at the Department of Fisheries Hillarys facility is also an option that could be considered, albeit there is inadequate space at the site to host a commercial scale hatchery.”
Its recommendations included that the State should not continue subsidising Tafe’s aquaculture training package courses.
It said the State would also need to continue to subsidise applied aquaculture research, advisory and fish stock supply services for the WA aquaculture industry to grow and restocking to continue, but should do so under a new funding and governance structure.
Choice from eight candidates for Butler voters
BUTLER voters have eight candidates to choose from before the polls close at 6pm on Saturday.
As listed on the ballot paper, those are Jan Van Nierkerk (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers), Ola Sommer (Micro Business Party), incumbent John Quigley (WA Labor), Linda Aitken (Liberal Party), Ryno Joubert (Australian Christians), Susan Hoddinott (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation), Ron Smith (Julie Matheson for WA) and Tom Webster (The Greens).
Those unable to attend a polling booth on Election Day can lodge their vote in Joondalup beforehand – the nearest location on Clarke Crescent, open from 8.30am to 5pm daily (except Labour Day, March 6).