John McCutcheon

Idea to build seafood farms near mines

TRANSPORTING seafood thousands of kilometres to feed miners at remote mining sites is an expensive part of running the huge projects that produce the majority of Australia's coal and iron ore.

But Australian prawn and barramundi farmers have a novel solution.

Australian Prawn Farmers Association president Alistair Dick and Barramundi Farming Association president Marty Phillips told a conference in Cairns one solution could be to build seafood farms next door to major mines.

Mr Dick said it would be great to work collaboratively on improving Australia's food security, create more regional jobs and grow more seafood.

"A large number of the bigger mines, especially in Western Australia, are geographically remote," he said.

"So, instead of shipping seafood thousands of kilometres to them, our suggestion is to grow it there, on site."

The concept, which could be applicable on some of the mega coal mines proposed in central west Queensland, is for a seafood farm to be built on land near the mines, providing a year-round supply of prawns and barramundi to the miners.

Mr Phillips said the two associations already had a "proof of concept".

"Many impoundments in Queensland, for example Boondooma and Fairbairn Dams, are already stocked with barramundi and bring a great deal of economic value to the local community from recreational fishing," he said.

While the idea is a long way from being realised, it was one of many discussed on Wednesday at the Ridley Prawn and Barramundi Conference in Cairns.
 
 


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