MBD acquires Pacific Reef Fisheries
Leading aquaculture water bioremediation expert, MBD today announced it has bought the Ayr based tiger prawn and cobia farm, Pacific Reef Fisheries – including the land and permits needed to construct a new 259 hectare state-of-the-art prawn and seaweed production facility at Guthalungra, near Bowen.
The purchase will see Pacific Reef Fisheries continue to produce and market premium quality tiger prawns and the award winning restaurant table fish cobia, from its existing 98 hectare Ayr site - in addition to significant new tiger prawns capacity from the Guthalungra facility, when constructed.
Announcing MBD's acquisition of PRF today, MBD Managing Director Andrew Lawson said the Pacific Reef Fisheries Guthalungra project is great news for environmentally sustainable aquaculture and marks the commencement of an exciting new investment and growth phase for Australian prawn production.
Hi-tech Aquaculture Project nears completion at Ayr
MBD has completed Stage 1 of this project that will produce 25 tonnes per annum of dried biomass containing Astaxanthin.
MBD says its large-scale cultivation of the microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis, will enable extraction of a valuable product, Astaxanthin – widely used as a natural red colorant in food, such as farmed salmon and prawns and as a prized dietary supplement -- renowned for its antioxidant properties.
Andrew Lawson, said the commencement of production at site represents a milestone for MBD. The project, the first of its kind in Australia, brings together leading science innovation and investment to create a new industry for Australia. The project has invested more than $10m into the local economy and will deliver long term jobs to the region.
Further stages are planned to see output increased to around 100 tonnes each year.
Watch Astaxanthin Video
White Spot Control
The Australian Government has enhanced import conditions on prawns and prawn products to meet appropriate levels of protection following the discovery last year of White Spot disease at prawn farms adjacent to the Logan River, south of Brisbane.
Pacific Reef Fisheries' farms are located almost 1000 kilometres from the affected area and maintain a high level of security against the disease. White Spot disease affects prawn growth and survival. There is no risk to humans eating the prawns.
As of 16 June 2017, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries announced a new white spot biosecurity regulation biosecurity regulation (PDF, 967KB) that maintains movement restrictions for high-risk animals such as prawns, yabbies and marine worms out of the white spot restricted area that extends from Caloundra to the NSW border.
MBD and Pacific Reef Fisheries maintain a proactive engagement with government and the industry to help support and protect the long term health and security of the Australian prawn industry.
PRF Guthalungra expansion project update
MBD and its subsidiary, Pacific Reef Fisheries, are working with the Queensland Government to clear the way for increased prawn production at Guthalungra, creating potential for significant economic development and new jobs in the Bowen region of North Queensland.
Following many years of work with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, last year Pacific Reef Fisheries was granted an expansion permit to build a new 259Ha farm on a former coastal cattle grazing property.
Final GBRMPA approvals were based on successful demonstration of prawn farm water management using MBD’s High Rate Algal Ponds (HRAP) System to bio remediate nitrogen and phosphorous. The system can be applied to existing and new aquaculture facilities.
MBD and Pacific Reef Fisheries are also working with various Queensland Government departments and agencies to meet State requirements for the granting of environmental, construction and operational approvals and permits that would enable the project to advance.
These include the Coordinator General and Department of State Development, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Department of Energy and Water Supply, and the Queensland Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
"Once Queensland Government approvals and permits have been granted we will be in a position evaluate the injection of tens of millions of dollars of new capital that will be required to make this major expansion of Queensland prawn production a reality – bringing new jobs and additional prosperity to the Bowen Region”, said Andrew Lawson, Managing Director of MBD.
Due to environmental regulations requiring the level of nitrogen and phosphorous in the discharge water to have no increase from the inlet water for each new prawn farm, Mr Lawson said the North Queensland prawn industry had not seen any significant expansion in over 15 years.
"Our demonstration of nitrogen and phosphorous bio remediation to satisfy the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was a major leap forward for Pacific Reef Fisheries and the North Queensland prawn industry and we now look to the Queensland Government to help us complete this exciting journey and deliver new local jobs”, Mr Lawson said.
Australia currently imports more than 70% of seafood. An expanded industry for the North Queensland Region has the potential to be a major producer of seafood to the Australian and international markets. Declining ocean stock volumes has led to a consistent increase in imported seafood over the last 20 years (currently over 50% of all shellfish and fish are grown in farms). More than 70% of the world’s farmed fish are grown in China.
MBD is working with the wider aquatic industry to roll out the bioremediation technology at key sites in North Queensland and Vietnam.
Watch Water Bioremediation Video
A video overview of MBD's waste water bioremediation solution enabling a major prawn and fish farm to expand.