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MISA Update - July 2007

Marine Innovation SA’s aim to boost South Australia’s capability in marine research and help ‘grow’ the State’s seafood industry is paying off on the national scene.

MISA plays key role in the $137m Australian Seafood CRC

The big news is the announcement of the $137 million Australian Seafood CRC, which will base its national headquarters in Adelaide.

It will be located in the Mark Oliphant Building, Science Park Adelaide at Bedford Park, which is next to Flinders University.

Major new opportunities for seafood innovation in SA are expected with the establishment of the CRC – Australia’s second largest co-operative research centre.

The CRC program is an Australian Government initiative that draws industry, small to medium businesses and researchers together and has a strong track record in producing innovative solutions to industry and business needs.

Marine Innovation SA (MISA) participants – SARDI, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide – played a major role in developing the successful CRC bid, which involves more than 37 core and supporting participants across Australia. The University of South Australia is now also involved as a CRC participant using some MISA funding for special projects.

Bold new opportunities for consumer-driven seafood innovation will flow from the establishment of the seven-year CRC that will provide comprehensive research, development and industry leadership spanning the entire value chain from production to consumption.

In announcing the CRC’s headquarters recently, Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister, Rory McEwen, and Science and Information Economy Minister, Paul Caica, said the CRC aimed to double 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,” they said.

MISA chair and SARDI Executive Director, Dr Rob Lewis, added that the Australian Seafood CRC’s work would strengthen efforts already underway in SA to support the State Seafood Plan that aimed to grow the value of the SA seafood industry to $2 billion per annum by 2015.
He said CRC research would span the entire value chain from production to consumer.

“A prime driver for our work will be in responding to consumer demands, understanding the national and international markets and helping industry deliver safe, high-quality seafood to the premium markets, as well as developing seafood products,” said Dr Lewis.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Chris Marlin, said major CRC research programs would cover product quality and integrity, health benefits of seafood and value chain profitability. An education and training program would include significant numbers of post-graduate researchers and contribute to skills and capacity training for industry participants.

Dr Lewis added that South Australia’s involvement with the CRC was consistent with and a direct benefit from the SA Government’s Marine Innovation SA (MISA) initiative to support collaboration of SA marine science capability, and position the State for this type of success in the national research arena.

The Australian Government has contributed $37 million toward the CRC. SA participants have invested around $18 million in cash, including more than $6 million from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and $20 million in-kind through staff and facilities, including a State Government contribution of about $6 million.

Go ahead for major LMSC expansion

A major redevelopment of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre at Port Lincoln has been given the official go-ahead following approval by the State Government Public Works Committee.

Tenders have been called, and it is anticipated that a builder will be selected soon.

The work, funded by the State Government ($4.49m) and Flinders University ($2.10 m) is integral to the MISA initiative to position South Australia as a world class centre for marine science, education and industry development. The increased capability it will provide has the potential to benefit SA’s wild fisheries catch and aquaculture production by three for every one dollar spent.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Chris Marlin, said the re-development is the first stage of four proposed expansions over the next 30 years. The initial works would almost double the size of the current centre, house an additional 35 scientists and educational staff, and cater for increased student numbers.

The LMSC expansion will create a national centre for excellence in marine science research and will attract significant CRC research for Port Lincoln involving yellowtail kingfish, hatchery-reared tuna, marine scale fisheries, abalone, oysters and prawns.

This research has the potential to at least triple the value of SA’s average annual value of production which currently stands at $445 million.

It is expected that the LMSC expansion will generate an additional 250 regional jobs by 2020. 

Understanding the Ocean

MISA has begun to address a major gap in the State’s marine capabilities - understanding the ocean current systems that underpin SA’s valuable fisheries.

Top Australian oceanographer, Dr John Middleton, the first high-level appointment made in SA under the MISA initiative – joined SARDI last year.

Already he has played a significant role in securing Federal funding of $2.8 million in cash and another $1 million in kind to support the deployment of ocean moorings and sub-surface gliders to measure currents, temperature and biological properties of the oceans off SA.

The data from these instruments will be complemented by that from satellites and ultimately, used to determine the fundamental nature of the ecosystems that underpin SA’s important fisheries in future collaborative projects with Flinders University and the University of Adelaide.

The funding is among $55 million allocated for the Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. “Our success in this national initiative,” says Dr Middleton, “is a direct result of a truly collaborative effort between researchers and institutions around the country. At a regional level, the MISA vision, has provided an ideal collaborative platform for our local success.”

In addition, the State Government will provide $516,000 toward the purchase of a High Frequency Ocean RADAR system that will be permanently based in SA. This system will provide further information in real time on surface ocean currents and wave conditions. While of great importance scientifically, the information will be accessible on the web and of great use for search and rescue, maritime shipping and navigation, tracking of toxic algal plumes, aquaculture management and ecotourism.

John, along with colleagues from SARDI and the University of Adelaide, have also obtained almost one month’s time on the National research vessel, the Southern Surveyor. Data collected in February next year from SA IMOS and the Surveyor will begin an exciting new chapter in SA marine science. 

New Aquatic Sciences Chief for SA

MISA was a key factor in luring one of Australia’s top marine scientists, Dr Mehdi Doroudi, to lead SARDI Aquatic Sciences.

“A major aim of MISA is to develop aquatic animal health capability within SA. This is an area that lacks expertise nationally and is of particular interest to me. I intend to play a major role in helping position South Australia as a national provider of this critical research.”

Dr Doroudi, who joined SARDI in December, has been appointed to the MISA Steering Committee and leads its Research Working Group. Dr Doroudi has more than 18 years experience in the management of fisheries and aquaculture research projects, and management of commercial aquaculture operations with an emphasis on fish and shelf fish diseases. He was formerly the Research Director of Marine and Freshwater Systems, Primary Industries Victoria (previously MAFRI).

Dr Doroudi says he was attracted to the SARDI position because of the size and growth of the fisheries and aquaculture industry in SA.

“South Australia has the potential to be a major force in marine research in temperate Australia because of the size of its local seafood industry and the capability already available within SARDI.

“MISA, which is about building capabilities in both infrastructure and expertise, provides the platform and support that SA needs to achieve this.”

Aquaculture students benefit from upgrade

Strengthening training programs, including degree courses in aquaculture and providing greater education pathways for further and higher education within the industry, is an important goal for MISA.

Flinders University is in the process of restructuring its Aquaculture and Marine Biology offerings from 2008 which will enhance the efficiency of teaching and increase the integration between their aquaculture and marine biology courses.

An important part of this includes a major upgrade to its aquaculture training and research facilities with the development of a new freshwater recirculating aquaculture system with eighteen 9,000 litre tanks at its Bedford Park campus. These tanks will be available for research but are primarily to enhance the hands on experience of the undergrad students, for the first time providing the opportunity for 2nd and 3rd year students to carry out their own aquaculture production on a day-to-day basis. Students will be managing grow-out of freshwater species as a core component of their aquaculture degree. The facility is expected to be completed soon.

New SARDI pool farm

A new $1.2 million experimental pool farm at SARDI Aquatic Sciences at West Beach will help develop SA’s aquaculture sector – a major focus of the MISA initiative.

The farm provides excellent facilities for research focussed on feed development, nutrition, product quality and husbandry, and is available to MISA partners, including the aquaculture industry.

The infrastructure is comparable to the best in Australia for tank-based research targeted at temperate water and freshwater fish, crustacean and mollusc species. It comprises 80 tanks of varying sizes allowing experiments to be reproduced in a larger number of tank environments, thereby providing more conclusive results.

A number of experiments have already been conducted since the farm opened in June last year.

They range from examining the winter dietary requirements of yellowtail kingfish to looking at ways of increasing omega 3 fatty acids in fish, and how dietary oxidised products and antioxidants interact to influence the quality of fish flesh.

Enquiries: SARDI Aquaculture Principal Scientist, Steve Clarke 8207 5443

MISA’s Mission

Marine Innovation SA, an initiative of the State Government, aims to position South Australia as a world class centre for marine science, education and industry development.

Excellence in marine science inspired through collaboration

Marine Innovation SA (MISA) is a partnership of the South Australian Government, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Flinders University, University of Adelaide, TAFE SA, South Australian Museum and the seafood industry.

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