Yumbah Aquaculture is reporting that its nursery has produced record tonnage for the year at its abalone farm at Smith Bay on the north coast.
KI manager David Connell said the juvenile abalone produced in the spawning facility back in December had spent the last six months in the nursery growing from 0.1mm to 20mm.
“New techniques and improvements in animal husbandry in the nursery phase have worked beautifully and the growth rates we have achieved are the best we’ve seen in our 21 years of operation, which is awesome,” Mr Connell said.
He also credited the good diatom levels in the ocean, coupled with the good flow rates and clean, pure ocean waters coming in to the farm through the intake pipes located in the shallow waters of Smith Bay.
The ever-growing expertise of propagation manager Hannah Davidson and assistant propagation manager Sam Horjus also played a big role in the success of the nursery, he said.
About 4.8 million juvenile abalone were propagated this year and these had just been transferred from the nursery to the grow-out area, now weighing 5 tonnes.
The abalone typically took two to three years to grow to harvestable size, but the success of the nursery meant that three to five months could be shaved off from this total time.
Mr Connell also said Natural Resources KI had just conducted a survey of marine pests in Smith Bay, after it conducted similar survey’s elsewhere on Kangaroo Island.
“Smith Bay has now been confirmed exotic pest free, which is great news,” he said.
Exotic pests and any stirring up of the water at Smith Bay would have a very detrimental impact on the nursery and abalone growing in general at Yumbah’s KI faciliity.
Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers was proposing to build a sea port facility at Smith Bay, which Mr Connell said could have a negative impact of introducing marine pests, altering the water flow and adding sediment to the intakes.
KIPT must release an environmental impact statement before any wharf development can occur.
Sea squirts, sea fans and mollusks introduced via ballast tanks could have a negative impact on the seawater intakes and the nursery and grow-out facilities, he said.
The Federal Agriculture and Water Resources minister had just released Biosecurity Marine Pest Plan for 2018 to 2023 that Mr Connell hoped would helped protect the KI abalone farm.