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Aquaculture leases extended in South Australia

Primary Industries

South Australia’s aquaculture sector is set to benefit from extensions to aquaculture lease terms from 20 to 30 years.

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The changes to the Aquaculture Act 2001 passed through the state’s parliament this week.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the extension to aquaculture lease terms would make leases more attractive for financial institutions and give lease holders the chance to borrow against their leases to unlock the huge potential that exists within the industry.

“Once these new measures come into effect, current holders of production leases will have an opportunity to apply for an extension of the terms of their leases to a term not exceeding 30 years from the day their lease was granted or renewed, he said.

South Australia is home to a well-established and highly developed seafood industry, with the state’s aquaculture sectors producing high value niche products, particularly Southern Bluefin Tuna, Yellowtail Kingfish, Pacific Oysters, Blue Mussels and Green Lip Abalone that are highly prized in Australia and around the world.

The majority of South Australia’s aquaculture farming resides in the coastal waters of Eyre Peninsula and the adjacent Spencer Gulf.

South Australia’s total seafood catch was valued at $483 million in 2016/17 with aquaculture contributing $230 million and wild caught fisheries $253 million.

Minister Whetstone said as part of the latest legislation amendments, written notification of the intention to cancel a lease must now also be provided to a third party, if they have been formally noted on the public register.

“These new third-party notification arrangements will provide an opportunity for investors to work with lease holders to explore options towards avoiding cancellation,” said Minister Whetstone.

“These latest changes to the Aquaculture Act are the result of concerted and extensive engagement and collaboration with the aquaculture sector and are part of our agenda to grow the state’s economy.”

South Australia is recognised as a world leader in the ecologically sustainable development of aquaculture, with one of Australia’s most comprehensive legislations in place to protect and manage the state’s aquatic resources.

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