The additional aquaculture sites are included in a new Victorian Aquaculture Strategy launched in Portarlington by Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford.
The Strategy will support Victoria’s aquaculture industry while keeping it productive, sustainable, and valued by the community.
The Strategy which will be in place from 2017-2022 provides a blueprint for public and private investment and action to develop the sector.
The first action of the strategy will see the release of an additional 41 crown lease sites situated within the seven existing aquaculture fisheries reserves in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port in 2017.
The new lease sites will be allocated via a public tender process commencing on 1 May 2017 and successful investors will be awarded long-term registered Crown leases for up to 21 years.
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.
An offshore aquaculture reserve at Portland and a land-based reserve at Point Lillias, near Geelong, are also likely to be allocated in future years.
Victorian aquaculture production is currently worth approximately $40 million annually and is expected to grow significantly with the tendering of these additional sites.
Mussel farms also improve water quality through filter feeding, making a positive contribution to the ecology of Port Phillip and Western Port Bay.
For more information visit http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/fisheries/aquaculture.