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MISA Update - August 2006

Marine Innovation SA was launched in September, 2005.

Since then tremendous gains have been made in MISA’s drive to integrate and expand South Australia’s marine research capabilities, technology transfer and education and training pathways. MISA’s goal – to foster significant growth in the fisheries and aquaculture industries and position South Australia as a world class centre for marine science, education and industry development.

The MISA partners, representing research and development bodies, educational institutions, industry and state government agencies across the seafood sector, have made good progress in ensuring South Australia has the capability and infrastructure to underpin these targets. In the past year, MISA has scoped and consulted with the seafood sector, identifying what is happening, where the gaps are, what is needed and how those needs should be addressed to ensure its continuing ecologically sustainable development and growth.

A major component is a multi-million dollar expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre (LMSC), located at Australia’s largest seafood and aquaculture port, Port Lincoln. Plans for the expansion, that will increase the size of the centre by six times, are nearing completion. The LMSC is a cornerstone of marine research and education in South Australia.

The new LMSC is a partnership of Flinders University, the South Australian Research and Development Institute and TAFE SA. Its expansion will allow for significant new educational and research programs to be undertaken, and draw high level scientists to lead projects that will open many new opportunities to advance the aquaculture industry. It will also lay the foundation for seamless education pathways for further and higher education in the rapidly developing seafood industry.

Construction on the LMSC is expected to begin by the last quarter of 2006, subject to required planning approvals. Once completed, it will house a planned additional 35 scientists and educational staff, as well as catering for increased student numbers.

Since MISA began last year, it has directly contributed to 22 marine science projects, all of which benefit the research areas identified by MISA as being key to the industry’s projected growth. These areas cover Product Quality and Value Adding, Aquaculture Innovation, Ecosystem Services and Biosecurity.

Projects include selective breeding of farmed abalone to improve growth rates, an innovative scheme to farm seafood in the Riverland using saline groundwater from salt interception schemes, development of gene probes to combat marine pest species, research to help conserve the Australian sea lion and little penguins, optimising at-sea post harvest handling procedures for the Australian sardine, and how to deliver the best flesh quality of lobster for the sashimi market.

MISA has also contributed to the funding of several key appointments in each of the four research nodes. These positions, based at the South Australian Aquatic Sciences Centre at West Beach, cover the areas of physical oceanography, biological oceanography, seafood science, fish nutrition and aquaculture genetics.

A further four positions identified by MISA as priority leadership positions for the research nodes have been advertised internationally and close on 1st September, 2006. They are in the areas of aquatic animal health, marine pests, seafood processing and ecosystem dynamics.

A critical infrastructure initiative being developed under MISA is the provision for South Australia of a high level aquatic bio-containment facility to respond to aquatic biosecurity issues and facilitate marine pest and invasive species research. This is being progressed through national and international scoping of specifications for such a facility as there are no prescribed specifications in Australia.

It is intended that the facility, based in SA, will be the most advanced in the Southern Hemisphere serving the seafood industries. The MISA partners are also working closely with national seafood related research, teaching and industry organisations (representing production through the value chain to consumer interests), to secure a CRC for Seafood Innovation in the current application call. MISA partners are the South Australian Research and Development Institute, Flinders University, University of Adelaide, TAFE SA, and fisheries, aquaculture and processing industries.

Contacts

Chief Aquatic Sciences
SA Aquatic Sciences Centre
2 Hamra Ave
West Beach SA 5024
Phone: (08) 8207 5400
Fax: (08) 8207 5406

Director
Lincoln Marine Science Centre
Flinders University
Sturt Road
Bedford Park SA 5042
Phone: (08) 8201 5021
Fax: (08) 8201 3015

Lecturer / Manager
Lincoln Marine Science Centre
Kirton Point
Port Lincoln SA 5606
Phone: (08) 8683 2561
Fax: (08) 8683 2525