Archive for the ‘Aquaculture’ Category

Passionate amateurs – aquaculture

October 7, 2009

 Dear Cockatoo members

 Hopefully you will have visited our website and read that it’s been placed 5th in the world ranking.  Last year we were ranked No.6. Needless to say we are mightily chuffed to achieve this ranking, as it puts Gippsland, Victoria and Australia on the map as a source of seafood news.

 The significance of our achievement can be put into perspective by seeing who are the top 10 websites – 1. FIS (Fish Info & Services), Japan – 2. Pan Acuicola, Mexico – 3. Diversified, USA – 4. NHST, Norway – 5. Gippsland Aquaculture Industry Network Inc. Australia – 6. FAO, Italy – 7. The Oban Times, UK  – 8., USA – 9. FAO, Malaysia – 10. Mecator Media, UK

 What amazes us is that all the others have paid staff and money is no object, and in some cases Governments are involved. We in GAIN are just a bunch of passionate, dedicated amateurs.  Passionate about aquaculture and its place in the world food chain.  If you think being linked to our site would increase the awareness of your site and the information you want to broadcast, then by all means asked to be linked.  We want to promote anything associated with aquaculture so you will be more than welcome.

Regards, Barry Dance, Deputy Chairman, GAIN – go to

Aquaculture – invitation from Chennai

January 15, 2009


I read with great interest about your Cockatoo Network. Our prime areas of interest are Aquaculture (Barramundi Aquafarming) and Marine Biotechnology (production of Chitin & Chitosan).


Maritech has been involved in development, implementing and operating Aquaculture projects since 1989 in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, etc. as Project Consultants.  We have played a key role in transfer of technology in India during the boom days in early 1990s.


Barramundi farming & Marine Biotechnology have a large scope & potential in India.  We are keen to cooperate with your network to establish collaboration and investment in India. Also, there is some interest among Indian investors to look for potential in Aquaculture in various South East Asian countries.


Let me know how we can collaborate with you.


Contributed by S. Santhana Krishnan, Chief Executive, Marine Technologies

37, 1st Street, Anna Colony, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, INDIA Tel.91-44-4551 1214


(Certain Cockatoo members have already replied, and networking activity is underway – Editor)


The world is your oyster

October 17, 2008


TO MR R.F.BROWN – Hi, I am just emailing to see if you are still around and if I can give you a ring and have a chat regarding regional branding.

I am a director on our regional development board which is in the early stages of developing our regional brand AUSTRALIA’S SEAFOOD FRONTIER. I have been lucky enough to win a NUFFIELD SCHOLARSHIP which enables me to travel the world in search of world’s best practice regarding regional branding. Having found some information by you on this issue on the web I look forward to talking to you and your reply.

Best regards, Lester Marshall, Managing Director, COFFIN BAY OYSTER FARM, COFFIN BAY SA 5607
Mobile: 0429 855021 Email:


(We have provided Lester with contacts such as Food Barossa, and Michael Dimock at Sunflower Strategies in California. Feel free to introduce yourself to Lester – Editor)

Anyone for investment tie-ups with Australia?

June 2, 2008


The Cockatoo Network, which I manage, is recognised globally for its efforts to build collaboration and alliances. Our main fields are industry development, investment attraction and innovation.

In our experience, the strongest success factor in investment attraction is the ability of localities to connect their knowledge, competencies, resources and people – both internally and externally.

With respect to the external dimension, we are in discussions with development agencies in India and the USA to link networks and clusters across different localities. We believe this will significantly enhance the connectivity of companies and research organisations, as well as the competitive advantages of the towns and regions concerned.

The particular problem we are addressing is the large element of ’hit and miss’ involved in innovation and commercial deals. This is intuitively understood by development agencies and companies, which is why they spend a lot of time connecting people via meetings, conferences, newsletters, websites, investment missions etc.

Take the example of the IT sector, where millions of executives and their staff worldwide compete daily to win business and to position themselves in each others’ markets. They crave knowledge about which agencies are letting contracts, who are the key decision-makers, and which local companies they should be getting close to. This is a costly and time-consuming activity because only a small percentage of firms are amenable to joint ventures or deals at a given time, and trust is not generated overnight. Wouldn’t life be easier if you had an agency on-the-ground to assist?

We are therefore in the process of identifying those networks that are serious and active about collaboration and two-way investment. The aim is to have a multi-country platform that identifies and connects the key agencies within particular industries. Our initial focus is on aquaculture, automotive parts, biofuels, biotech; dairy foods, electronics, environmental management; food manufacturing; healthcare; information technology; marine engineering; telecommunications; textiles.

 We will be travelling to India and the USA – and then progressively to Thailand, Europe and other nations to complete our feasibility study. We are looking for potential collaborators. If you have a common interest, we surely would like to hear from you!

Rod Brown, Cockatoo Network, Canberra phone 61-2-62317261 or

CREDC’s legacy – Ecofish

April 2, 2008





 We are reliably informed that Cairns Region Economic Development Council (CREDC), the pre-eminent REDO in Australia, has been disbanded. We understand that the decision was associated with cost savings by the Queensland Government.


If this is true, it is very short-sighted and completely ignorant of some of the very strong outcomes that CREDC achieved over its short life.


 One of the initiatives that has won global recognition for CREDC, Cairns and Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) has been Ecofish.


The fishing industry injects approximately $150 million into the region’s economy and employs 1600 people. (That’s 5 year old data). It is a major contributor to Australia’s seafood exports. The main export products are prawns, tuna, lobsters, crabs and fish and Cairns lays claim to the largest fishing fleet in Australia.  

An array of environmental agendas have unfolded in recent times in TNQ. Twenty years ago, the differences would have been resolved by a pool cue being embedded in someone’s head.  But Ecofish was established as a non-profit organisation to resolve people’s differences, and to represent the seafood and marine industry to ensure its long-term survival.

The members are a mix of fishers, fish processors, wholesalers, retailers, chandleries, slipways, engineers, paint and fuel distributors, and other support services such as legal and financial. They operate along the lines of a cluster. 

The principal motivational factor was the threat of Government regulation to the ongoing viability of northern fisheries.  As a result, much of the initial stages of the cluster focussed on survival rather than addressing the conventional developmental issues. The commercial fishing industry has had to adjust and respond to pressures from environmentalists, government and the recreational fishing sector

Ecofish Executive Officer, Darren Cleland, explained some time ago that due to the demand for environmental accountability, most in the fishing industry were voluntarily pursuing new practices.  Rather than rely on legislators to dictate the future of environmental management, stakeholders were establishing Environmental Management Systems (EMS). They claimed that they were in a leading position to shape the environmental management of fisheries for the next century – ‘we are grasping this chance now and are working to establish EMSs to a level that have only been developed in a few fisheries across the globe’.

 Actions included:

·          Raising the awareness and understanding of the importance of the industry.

·          Improving their lobbying skills (presumably to keep up with the very effective environmental lobby)

·          Ensuring the industry actively pursues world’s best ecologically sustainable fishing practices.

·          Working with educational bodies to improve industry training opportunities and standards and to develop attractive career opportunities. 

Interestingly, Ecofish members actively pursued the development of environmental safeguards (such as bycatch reduction devices and turtle exclusion devices( prior to legislation, and these are now mandatory features in trawl management plans for the region.  Ecofish was also sponsoring a younger member in the Australian Fisheries Academy’s Leadership Program and offers work experience and training opportunities for young people interested in joining the industry.

We are currently finding out if Ecofish survived the purge.CS)

Competition drives Humber Seafood Gateway (BEST PRACTICE)

March 18, 2008

Plans for an International Seafood Gateway in the Humber were unveiled to an international audience at the North Atlantic Seafood Conference in Oslo on 4 March. The Seafood Gateway proposal involves:

§          Humber Seafood Institute, to support the industry and promote international collaboration on innovation and sustainability – opening April 2008.
§          Perishables Hub based at Humberside airport, a new purposed built temperature controlled facility for the efficient handling of air freighted cargo – opening summer 2008. §          Humber Seafood Exchange, a state of the art international/chilled seafood logistics hub, distribution centre, auction and processing facility – construction work will start early in 2009. 

Food producers around the Humber are responsible for 70% of UK seafood consumption. The distribution hub to be built on the Europarc estate near Immingham allows the region to compete with France’s leading port, Boulogne-sur-Mer, where a major investment is being made in a similar facility. 

Project backers say without the development the fish processing industry on the Humber will go into a slow decline. However, it will almost inevitably lead to closure of both Grimsby and Hull fish markets. Indeed, the CEO of Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises says “We are in limbo. We are neither for nor against. We haven’t been offered any deal or proposal that satisfies the board.”  

BOTTOM LINE – competition from the French always did galvanise the Brits. Worth tracking progress.  

Pathways for miners and indigenous populations

October 17, 2007

A very interesting discussion paper ‘Going for Gove: investment, interdependence and integration’ was released a couple of years back, and it is more relevant now than ever. 

A joint project between Invest Australia and Alcan (the Canadian aluminium giant), it distils the short and long term issues and investment considerations for the Gove region in the Northern Territory.

The backdrop is a $1.9 billion expansion of Alcan’s alumina refinery at Nhulunbuy and the desire of Alcan to understand the perspectives of the traditional owners and Yolnu elders. The author, Rebecca Gordon, lived in the Gove region for a month in 2003 soaking up the views of stakeholders. The main findings of her report are:
§          Significant investment opportunities exist, particularly in horticulture, aquaculture, tourism, art & culture and minerals (estimated $30 billion worth of base metals and bauxite in the region).
§          However a clearly recognised, understood and accepted pathway is needed for the development of investment projects.
§          For investment to occur, both Yolnu and non-indigenous people need long-term partnerships.
§          The township of Nhulunbuy should become an important regional centre to service east Arnhem Land and to attract investment. 

Anyone with an interest in sharing ideas about remote area development, indigenous business development or the interaction between multinationals and indigenous groups should read this report. Contact:

Australia’s Top 10 ‘physical’ clusters

October 17, 2007


We are often asked to describe and explain a cluster.


The first thing to appreciate is the distinction between:

§          ‘physical’ clusters i.e. agglomerations of companies and support agencies that are dynamic hot spots of economic activity.

§          ‘collaborative program’ clusters i.e. where programs are implemented to drive collaborative outcomes.


The two groups are not the same! Many of the physical clusters have developed without formalised structures, and most of the players were never involved in formalised meetings.


Outlined below are our top 10 physical clusters in Australia – it is necessarily subjective, and we welcome correspondence if you agree or not! The common characteristics are lengthy gestation periods, champions, and triggers that generate further investment and economic spillovers. Interestingly, many of the triggers came from the public sector.


1. Cairns Airport/City Port (Qld) – infrastructure and local leaders have spurred tourism development and seafood and horticulture exports. The City Port project has transformed the foreshore and CBD. The trigger was Townsville winning state/federal government blessing in the 1980s as the regional aviation gateway. Bob Manning (then CEO of Cairns Airport) led the charge. The airline pilots strike and recession in early 1990s were further triggers.

2. Jervoise Bay (Rockingham, WA) – precinct designed to capture commercial opportunities associated with nearby defence and marine facilities, local engineering and shipbuilding companies, concrete platforms for the North West Shelf etc. The trigger was competition from Singapore, which led to visionary plans by WA Government, which then negotiated and matched an $80 million federal grant. 

3. Melbourne Docklands and Southbank (Vic) – transformed this area from an embarrassment to a highlight. It gels with the MCG, the Tennis Stadium and the parkland areas. The trigger was the commitment of a Victorian Planning Minister and his officials in early 1990s.

4. Port Lincoln (SA)  – a great example of industry putting its money where its mouth is. A network of professional fishermen saw the need to invest in R&D and training, and well-argued submissions backed by business plans attracted federal and state assistance for a multi-faceted Marine Centre.

5. Scone Equine (NSW) – local and overseas breeders are clustered here. The trigger was local government leaders who mapped out infrastructure requirements and an ingenious funding mechanism for a research centre. A world-class training track, a TAFE and a convention centre reinforce each other.

6. Canberra Airport (ACT) – the trigger was the sale by the federal government to the Snow family in 1998. This has led to a further $500+ million investment in the terminal, hangars, apron, roads, car parks, and Business Park. Consultancy businesses, freight forwarders, defence contractors etc. now operate on-site.

7. Shepparton (Vic) – a very strong food processing cluster involving around ten significant multinationals. The trigger has been water infrastructure installed in stages since the 1960s. A major road freight hub has also developed there due to backloading opportunities.

8. Barossa Wine Region (SA) – this cluster has been analysed on countless occasions. Local winemakers (Gramp, Buring, Blass et al), favourable soil and climate, Roseworthy Agriculture College.  

9. Gold Coast (Qld) – Australia’s largest-scale tourism cluster. A big champion was Alderman Bruce Small in the 50s and 60s – his bikini-wearing ‘meter maids’ (who put money in expired parking meters’) caught the attention of staid southern city dwellers. Climate, beaches, and proximity to Brisbane.  

10. Honeysuckle urban renewal project (Newcastle, NSW) – intelligent town planning and cocktail funding across three levels of government and the private sector. The trigger was exit of BHP Steel and job losses, which led to ‘Better Cities’ funding and a federal/state/BHP restructuring fund. 

Special mentions go to north Sydney ICT and life sciences, Torquay surfwear (Vic), Darwin defence/marine (NT), Salamanca Place (Tas), Bega dairy (NSW), Yarragon antiques (Vic), Brisbane Airport Qld), Virginia horticulture (SA) and Perth mining technology services (WA).  

‘Cluster cages’ in Malaysia (BEST PRACTICE)

October 16, 2007

 Tony McLennan, editor of ‘Growfish’ has sent us a very timely article from the Straits Times. 

Small-scale fish rearers along Sungai Pahang, Malaysia’s biggest river, face logistical difficulties marketing their produce. Wholesalers have been reluctant to buy fish from them due to insufficient quantities and their scattered locations. The problem has eased since most of the 32 fish rearers have regrouped into four clusters, each with its own “transit cage” supplied by Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama).


Under the “cluster-cage” concept, Fama will obtain its fish supply only at selected locations near the road. Fish rearers will be informed a few days before we come so that they can bring their fish to the transit cage.

Although there are about 200 fish cages there, most of the rearers own just two or three. The cluster-cage concept enables the rearers to concentrate on improving their produce. “We don’t have to think about the marketing aspect anymore. The most important thing for us now is to produce high-quality fish.” said a local, who owns 10 cages. He previously had to go to Kuantan or Kuala Lumpur to sell his fish.  A Fama official said the concept had been expanded to Maran and Kuantan. “We can’t go and buy fish from individual rearers. That is why we have to treat them as a big group supplying more than 400kg of fish each time we come to collect their produce,” he said.

There are 219 fish rearers in Pahang with 1,636 cages. Fama also plans to formulate a new type of fish feed so that rearers can harvest their fish every four months instead of 6-9 months at present.

African aquaculture – small, but growing rapidly

October 15, 2007

The Growfish newsletter is a beauty, and a recent edition highlights a significant development agenda. It has a story by Erik Hempel (INFOSA – via Eurofish magazine) about the increasing interest in aquaculture in Africa.

Aquaculture production in Africa only amounts to 570,000 tonnes annually – but it is now growing. For example, Egypt’s production has risen 500% in less than 10 years. Other potential hot spots are Congo DR, Nigeria, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Investments in African aquaculture can be divided into two groups:
§          Community-based projects – small, financed by aid agencies and national governments.

§          Commercial investments – larger scale, mainly export oriented. Usually foreign capital involved – joint venture with local investors.

Many markets are able to pay good prices. For many operations the local, African markets represent a better option in terms of profitability. What is needed is the development of distribution systems, and to some extent cold chains. Corruption and lack of infrastructure in some areas are major obstacles. Also lack of feed, knowledge and finance – caused mainly by the lack of experience on the part of financial institutions in the region.

Both development banks and commercial banks are reluctant to finance aquaculture projects because they do not know the sector. However, the investors must also take part of the blame – they don’t know how to present their projects to financial institutions. (The article suggests to us that foreign banks with aquaculture expertise, together with aquaculture consultants and aid agencies could play a really constructive role. Over to you, Cockatoo members! 

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