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Featured News JCU welcomes LNP Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator funding commitment

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Thu, 15 Oct 2020

JCU welcomes LNP Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator funding commitment

Artist's impression of the Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator
Artist's impression of the Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator

James Cook University has welcomed the State Opposition’s election commitment of $67m for JCU’s proposed Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator.

The Accelerator, to be based at JCU’s Douglas campus will combine the University’s global expertise in aquaculture innovation, research and commercialisation with industry partners and world-leading, fit-for-purpose facilities and will be part of Townsville’s TropiQ – Tropical Intelligence and Health Precinct,

It’s expected that by 2035 the Accelerator will support $2.6 billion in gross regional product and create more than 11,000 jobs.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said she is delighted by LNP Leader Deb Frecklington’s election commitment, which was announced today at JCU’s Douglas campus.

Professor Harding said the Tropical Aquaculture Accelerator will kickstart the expansion of Northern Australia’s aquaculture industry.

“This shovel-ready project is critically important to the future growth of northern Queensland’s aquaculture industry.

“This commitment means we can develop aquaculture as an industry in northern Queensland as previous generations did with beef, by working with industry and investing in research, training and infrastructure to support rapid and sustainable growth of the industry,” Professor Harding said.

The $67m commitment will fund the cost of building the Accelerator. Looking ahead, JCU expects to contribute $630m in operating and other costs over 30 years with industry also expected to contribute to the work undertaken by the Accelerator.

The Dean of Research at James Cook University Professor Andrew Krockenberger said aquaculture production in northern Australia is forecast to increase five-fold within a decade and deliver a $1.34 billion per annum export industry, creating thousands of jobs.

“The Accelerator will provide opportunities for industry co-location, state-of-the-art life support systems, wet and dry laboratories, specialist technologies in analysis and quality control, and training facilities and industry liaison that will provide the R&D required to enable the aquaculture industry to reach its potential in northern Australia.

“JCU has a strong track record of partnerships with the aquaculture industry. We’ve helped Seafarms Group, with farms in Cardwell, Lucinda and Flying Fish Point, improve their broodstock with the world’s first genomic assisted breeding program for tiger prawns.

“R&D work in partnership with Pacific Bio Australia (owners of Pacific Reef Fisheries in Ayr) led to the first on-farm demonstration facility enabling zero-net-waste prawn farming.

“Collaborative research with JCU has helped Mainstream Aquaculture build the world’s most advanced breeding program for barramundi, assisting their impressive company growth to become the largest supplier of barramundi fingerlings in the world, and we’re working with The Company One to develop vaccines for commercially relevant diseases, and nutrition for their grouper production in Cairns,” Professor Krockenberger said.