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Aquaculture plan for the Recherche Archipelago


Academic year: 2023

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The coastline of the Recherche Archipelago features numerous pristine beaches, headlands, islands and sheltered bays. APPENDIX A Individuals and Groups Involved in the Consultation Process APPENDIX B Overview of the Western Australian Aquaculture Industry APPENDIX C User Profile for the Recherche Archipelago.


Significant Features of the Esperance and the Recherche Archipelago

Aims of the Plan


  • Overview
  • Phase I Consultations
    • Outline of the Process
    • Draft User Profile of the Recherche Archipelago and Adjacent Coast
    • Phase I Consultation Outcomes
  • Phase II Consultations
  • Climate and Weather
  • Geomorphology
  • Water Resources
  • Bathymetry
  • Oceanography
  • Summary

A full account of the consultation outcomes is presented in the Report on Community Consultations (Fisheries WA, 1999). The Recherche Archipelago is affected by a strong, relatively constant swell from the southwest for most of the year.


  • Biological Resources
  • Benthic Habitats
  • Conservation
  • Summary

All but one of the islands of the Recherche Archipelago are nature reserves that are part of 'A' Class Reserve No. The benthic habitats of the Recherche Archipelago are not well known, apart from the survey work described above;.


Proposed Conservation Reserves

Proposed Marine Reserve for the Recherche Archipelago

As recognized by the MPRSWG, the lack of area information is a limiting factor in the marine reserve planning process. In addition, soil surveys support both aquaculture applications and future planning of marine parks.


  • Tourism
    • Scope of Activity
    • Principal Tourism Areas & Resources
  • Recreational Diving
    • Scope of Activity
    • Principal Diving Localities
  • Recreational Boating & Fishing
    • Scope of Activity
    • Principal Boating & Fishing Localities
    • Anchorages & Navigation Route
  • Surfcasters & Beachside Recreation
    • Scope of Activity & Season
    • Principal Surf Casting and Beach Recreation Localities
  • Charters & Cruises
    • Scope of Activity
  • Commercial Fishing
    • Scope of Activity
    • Principal Fishing Localities

Charter operations would account for about a quarter of the diving effort in the Recherche Archipelago. Some boats occasionally anchor in the outer islands for lunch and diving.

Table 1 Beach Usage
Table 1 Beach Usage


  • Land Resources
    • Planning Context
    • Shire of Esperance Local Town Planning Scheme
    • Coastal Reserves and Zoning
    • Status of Land Availability in Esperance
    • Status of Land Availability in Duke of Orleans Bay
    • Status of Land Availability in Condingup
  • Water Supplies
  • Groundwater and Ocean Water for Aquaculture
  • Waste water
  • Power Supply
  • Education
  • Harbour Facilities
  • Industry Prospects
  • Summary

Land is also available for aquaculture purposes in the commercial district of the boat harbor. There are adequate water supply wells to the west of the city, but other groundwater areas are also available for future city growth.


  • Overview
  • Environmental Constraints
  • Existing Users
    • Competition for Space
    • Large-scale Sea Cage Farming
  • Community Support
  • Other Social Constraints
  • Infrastructure Constraints
  • Resource Constraints
  • Lack of Information
  • Decision Making Authorities
    • Fisheries Western Australia
    • Shire of Esperance
    • Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)
    • Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
    • Water and Rivers Commission (WRC)
    • Department of Transport
    • Esperance Port Authority
  • Other Agencies Involved with Aquaculture Proposals
    • Western Australian Museum
    • Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA)
    • Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972-1980
    • Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM)
  • Community and Industry Organisations

Large-scale sea cage farms should only limit access for boating and recreational fishing to the extent of the cages themselves and in the vicinity. A community-based management advisory group can help develop and manage the aquaculture industry. The need to proceed with a development in the absence of a master plan is a common situation that was anticipated and included in the wording of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

In this way, an accumulation of knowledge of the environment will take place in coordination with the development of the aquaculture industry. The Department of Transport is concerned with the navigational aspects of aquaculture and issues Mooring Licenses in terms of the provisions of the Western Australian Marine Act. All Aboriginal Sites in Western Australia are protected under the provisions of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972-1980.

Table 2  Potential User Constraints
Table 2 Potential User Constraints


Application Procedures

Pre-application Investigations and Procedures

Site Identification Considerations

The consultations and investigations found that Esperance and the Recherche Archipelago have significant potential for the development of aquaculture, but that community concerns about tuna farming tend to adversely affect perceptions of other forms of aquaculture that could be most beneficial to the region . Encourage the development of a vibrant, environmentally sustainable aquaculture industry that can co-exist with the existing and planned physical, cultural, social and historical values ​​of the Recherche Archipelago.” Although there are some significant limitations to aquaculture in the study area, it can be managed without undue cost or difficulty, so the strategy proposed below sets out and explores ways in which aquaculture development can be encouraged.


General Features

The diversity of systems is described in the following classifications from Avault (1996) and are taken from Anderson et al (1997). The following Table 3 highlights the advantages and disadvantages between sea cages in the sea and land-based systems. Although the information relates to salmon farming in British Columbia, there are some similarities between the salmon farming industry and the potential industry in the Esperance region.

These include user conflicts, pollution effects and the need to develop cost-effective production systems. With treatment technology, avoiding possible harmful impacts on the marine environment associated with waste discharges. Environmental issues associated with receiving water and effluent still evident without recirculation/treatment - Very restrictive site requirements - Conflict with mountain property users.

Table 3  Comparison of Land and Sea-based Systems
Table 3 Comparison of Land and Sea-based Systems

Systems Applicable to the Recherche Archipelago

  • Land-based Aquaculture
  • Sea-based Aquaculture

In reality, the level of research will be proportional to the level of total investment. Net pen culture involves growing species in floating nets that can be attached to the bottom. Animals are allowed to grow in the wild and surviving stocks are harvested when they return to the place of release as with salmon, or harvested in the commercial or recreational fisheries.

Benthic culture involves growing oysters and other molluscs on the bottom of oceans or ponds. Off-bottom farming of oysters and other molluscs involves techniques that use floating rafts on long lines, lines and rods. Pass-through gear aquaculture refers to the use of submerged cages to contain the animals being cultured.


Principles of Species Selection

Behavior The species being cultured must adapt well to captivity and be relatively easy to catch. Growth The species being grown should show a good growth rate with as little variation as possible. Efficient feed Feed costs can be as high as 50% of the total cost of production and therefore conversion efficiency utilization of diet will affect profit.

Non-cannibalistic cannibalism will reduce the survival rate of the species and can cause disease through stress and physical damage. High meat recovery The species should have a relatively high meat recovery as a percentage of total body weight. Water quality parameters may change below what is considered optimal for short periods of time, and the ability to tolerate this is desirable.

Candidate Aquaculture Species for the Recherche Archipelago

  • Primary Species
  • Secondary Species
  • Other Species with a Future in Esperance

Consequently, there is now a good understanding of the basic biology and aquaculture requirements of the species. Culture technology for the species is being developed and early results are encouraging regarding its production in forestry. The production efficiency and commercial viability of the species are unknown at this stage; its commercial success may depend on its acceptability in the Southeast Asian market.

Cultivation techniques are well developed for flounder and the species is generally considered to have good aquaculture potential. The commercial aquaculture potential of the species is currently being explored in Tasmania and Victoria, and it is considered to have some potential in South Australia. The species is further characterized by poorly known production efficiency and commercial viability factors under Western Australian conditions.

Table 7 Candidate Aquaculture Species for the Recherche Archipelago
Table 7 Candidate Aquaculture Species for the Recherche Archipelago


Site Selection

Land-based Sites

  • Land-based Sites Selection Criteria
  • Potential Land-based Sites

The source of the water can be from several places, such as rivers, seeps, springs and boreholes. The size and location of the farm along with the topography will determine the water source for the venture. The quality of the water source must be determined to ensure the optimal growth conditions for the stock.

Poor water quality will result in reduced stock growth and health. Topography The topography of the area plays an important role in determining the design of the farm. Expansion Provision for farm expansion should be considered during the planning phase.

Sea-based Site

  • Sea-based Selection Criteria
  • Potential Marine-based Sites

This is of particular importance to the Criminal Investigation Department given the number of days when sea conditions are less than ideal. The Remark and Mart groups appear to have significant potential for large-scale sea cage culture. The Remark Group appears to offer superior protection against adverse marine conditions, but is a long way from land-based facilities.

Any aquaculture application for countries within the Remark Group will need to address these issues. Other sites that appear to meet the necessary selection criteria are generally east of Esperance Bay. There was some opposition during the Phase II consultation to the placement of sea cages in the waters of and between the Figure Eight Islands, Remark and east of Mondrain Island.


Principles of Environmental Management

  • Ecologically Sustainable Development
  • Equity and Resource Sharing

The Effect of Aquaculture on the Environment

  • Land-based Aquaculture
  • Sea-Based Aquaculture
    • Non Finfish Species
    • Finfish Farming
  • Environmental Management

Production of solids, nutrients, chemicals, • Use high quality feed and provide good antibiotics; impacts of waste material feeding practices. This is due to the fact that the cause of the mass die-off of sardines in 1995 and 1998 is still unknown and there is speculation that these events were linked to imported feed. The use of artificial nutrition would alleviate a large percentage of the negative problems associated with tuna farming by those community members we consulted.

Perform a baseline measurement of the current environmental characteristics to ensure that the carrying capacity of the sites/system is not exceeded. Based on an estimate of the carrying capacity, determine what environmental impact the project can have. While it is true that poorly planned and managed aquaculture projects can have a negative impact on the Recherche Archipelago, sufficient attention is paid within existing regulations to establish best practice in the world and to ensure that there are no significant adverse impacts for the environment of the Recherche archipelago.

Table 10   Environmental Management of Pond Culture Systemsa
Table 10 Environmental Management of Pond Culture Systemsa


  • Stock Enhancement
  • Support Industries
  • Production of Potential Aquaculture Technologies and Equipment
  • Opportunities for Aquaculture Related Training, Research and Development

The need for industrial supplies and infrastructure related to aquaculture presents two potential opportunities for businesses in Esperance. First, the development of the aquaculture industry in Esperance could create business opportunities for those who provide infrastructure and supplies related to aquaculture. Potential opportunities include aquatic equipment design, supply and/or production of aquaculture equipment and distribution of aquaculture products.

Given the pressures on the natural environment from current and potential uses, there is a critical need for relevant agencies, industry groups and the Esperance community to develop greater and more scientific knowledge of the natural environment and its capacity to support the various user groups for sustainable accommodation. Acquire. future generations. In addition to developing a better knowledge base for the existing industries, there is also a need to provide support for the development of new technologies in commercial fishing and the emerging aquaculture industries. It is hoped that should this facility be established, it will continue the philosophy of providing collaborative arrangements between relevant interested institutions, agencies and the community.


Prospects for Aquaculture

Initial Steps


RESPONSE TO COMMENTS - the risks of aquaculture in the port area are recognized in the plan. note: section 11 of the draft plan is now section 14 of the final report). Prepared by the Climate and Advisory Division of the Western Australian Bureau of Meteorology Regional Office. The development of the aquaculture industry in Western Australia faces a number of constraints that also apply to the Recherche Islands.

12 Report of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee to the Honorable Minister of Fisheries September 24, 1987. 59 Proceedings of the Charter Boat Management Workshop (held as part of the 1st National Fisheries Managers Conference). 82 The impact of a new management package on small-scale operators in the western rock lobster fishery.

103 Future management of the water sports charter industry in Western Australia by the Tour Operators Fishing Working Group (September 1997). A discussion paper prepared by Kevin Donohue on behalf of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee.


Table 1 Beach Usage
Table 2  Potential User Constraints
Table 3  Comparison of Land and Sea-based Systems
Table 5 Culture Stages of Aquatic Species


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