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Seafood Industry Coup for South Australia

Hon Rory McEwen
Minister for Agriculture, Food & Fisheries
Hon Paul Caica
Minister for Science & Information Economy

News Release - Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The national headquarters of the new $137 million Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre will be based in Adelaide.

State Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Rory McEwen and Science Minister Paul Caica have jointly announced the Centre, which will be based at Science Park Adelaide in Bedford Park.

“This is a coup for South Australia”, they said. “This new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is the second largest in Australia and aims to double the value of the nation’s $2.1-billion seafood industry within 10 years.

“The Adelaide location will reinforce SA as the most significant seafood industry and research state in the nation and will put us in the spotlight as a world leader in seafood industry development.”

Fisheries Minister, Rory McEwen said the CRC would deliver an additional $700 million into the state’s seafood industry over seven years.

“The CRC will provide significantly greater regional and rural opportunities for the State’s seafood sector, with local producers and other industry participants having first access to many of the technologies developed.

“The Centre will also attract significant research for the Eyre Peninsula, and Pt Lincoln in particular, involving yellowtail kingfish, hatchery-reared tuna, marine scale fisheries, abalone, oysters, rock lobsters and prawns.”

Science Minister Paul Caica said having the CRC based in SA would create up to 1,000 new local jobs.

“The growth in jobs will be in areas ranging from seafood production and processing through to distribution and marketing. And there will also be expanded opportunities in vocational training and higher education, as well as industry technology transfer”, he said.

“The CRC will support the Australian seafood industry to keep up with escalating demand through new methods of fish farming, value adding to wild catch fish, examining the scientific links between health and seafood, improving the quality of seafood products and responding to consumer demands.”

The Seafood CRC is due to be officially launched in early August.

Minister Caica also announced today that funding to establish the Seafood CRC in Adelaide was part of a $4.2million cash investment the State Government would make into five Cooperative Research Centres over the next seven years.

“This investment has now doubled the South Australian Government’s commitment to Cooperative Research Centres, bringing our total commitment since 2005-06 to $8.4-million”, he said.

“We now have over 300 researchers and post-graduate students engaged across SA in 30 national CRC’s and this investment will further strengthen our State’s research capacity”, he said.

In addition to the new Seafood CRC to be based in Adelaide, the other four CRC’s to win SA Government funding are:

  • Future Farm Industries CRC will develop innovative farming systems and new regional industries, based largely on perennial plants, to transform dry land agriculture across southern and eastern Australia.
  • CRC for Biomarker Translation will develop antibody-based therapeutics and diagnostics tests that target cell surface molecules (biomarkers). These antibodies, or “magic bullets’, target the cells involved in major diseases, including autoimmune disease and cancers.
  • CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation aims to improve wool and meat quality and improve the efficiency of sheep production. This research will focus on improving the genetic make-up of sheep to improve the quality of wool in fine and light wool apparel and the eating quality and nutrition of the meat.
  • Rail CRC is industry-led and will address the challenges of safety, customer service, engineering and other business parameters within the sector.

Minister Caica said SA’s strongest hand in securing the CRC headquarters was the State Government’s Marine Innovation SA initiative, with the bid being led by key MISA participants, SARDI, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide.

“MISA - which integrates research, education and industry across the SA seafood sector - achieves a unique collaboration in Australia and lays the groundwork for similar cooperation with the 37 core and supporting Australian Seafood CRC participants around the country” he said.

The five CRC’s winning SA backing will also receive, over their seven year term, around $157 million from the Commonwealth Government. The CRC Program is an Australian Government initiative established in 1990 with the aim of significantly increasing commercially focussed research and development across Australia.