Article – Entsch lands barra as focus turns to aquaculture

April 2015
Boyd Robertson

Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch stopped in at Wonga Beach on Wednesday to open Daintree Barramundi Fish Farms as focus turns toward aquaculture in Far North Queensland. 
Although Daintree Barramundi Fish Farm has already been operating for three years, Mr Entsch ‘officially opened’ the business to mark its success.
The farm’s barramundi regularly pick up awards from national food shows and are also in high demand as breeding stock.
The farm also includes the Hook-a-Barra recreational fishing service, with Mr Entsch taking the time to catch a rare albino barramundi.
Mr Entsch commended Daintree Barramundi operator Mark Hober on the success of his business and encouraged him to expand, saying demand for aquaculture would continue to build as tropical developing nations grew.
“When you look at population growth, soon 50 per cent of the entire world will live in the tropics, and 60 per cent of the world’s children – that population is going to need protein and a lot of that protein is going to come from seafood,” he said.
“The average return for agriculture – which is to say farming on land – is about $200 an acre, but the average return for aquaculture – farming fish – can be around $2,500, so there’s definitely profitable business to be done.”
Mr Entsch said aquaculture would be a subject of heavy focus in the upcoming Northern Australia White Paper, after the Northern Australia Committee recommended that governments improve regulatory framework around aquaculture in order to encourage growth.
“We’ve identified over 1.2 million hectares of land that would be suitable for aquaculture but what’s happening at the moment is instead of using it, we’re sending our technology and best practices overseas to Vietnam and South-East Asia, and buying back the produce they make with it,” Mr Entsch said.
“There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to treble the size of a place like this. There’s demand for the product, the area has high unemployment – why should you not be able to employ a few people from the area?”
Mark Hober said he was looking forward to working to expand his business.
“Right now we’re in talks with the Department on expansion,” he said.
“My aim is to expand the farm but to do that we have to be viable and successful.”

Courtesy of Newsport
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