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Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Page: 4357

Mr ADAMS (4:03 PM) —I am very pleased to hear of a grant of $50,030 to the Australian mussel industry association under this government’s Promoting Australian Produce Program, a $5 million program providing grants of between $50,000 and $750,000. This grant will help the Australian mussel industry association to conduct research into consumer understanding of Australian blue mussels and assist in the development of a marketing strategy that will promote the Australian blue mussel as part of a healthy diet. Tasmania is well known for its blue mussels, particularly the Spring Bay mussel, which has a national reputation. I am particularly partial to them myself, and many of my family enjoy dishes of mussels. Earlier this month Spring Bay mussels won the inaugural Vogue Entertaining and Travel Produce Award for food heritage and sustainability. Triabunna based Spring Bay Seafoods is one of seven Tasmanian producers to win medals at the awards, announced on Tuesday night at the Sydney Etch by Becasse restaurant. Vogue lauded Spring Bay for its groundbreaking work. It was the only Australian mussel producer with its own hatchery, which meant it was not harvesting young wild mussels, or spat, and depleting natural resources.

Food producers and industry organisations such as the Australian mussel industry association make a vital contribution to the nation’s economy and to rural and regional communities. The grant is part of nearly $2 million being delivered nationally to the agriculture and the seafood industries in the first round of the Promoting Australian Produce Program. So it will help the local mussel industry to remain competitive and contribute to its success into the future. Grants have been awarded to food industry organisations to increase their industry’s marketing and promotional abilities and to strengthen links with domestic and international markets. Tasmania is recognised nationally and globally for its high-class produce and the funding will assist the mussel industry to further that reputation.

Presently, Australian mussels are marketed and sold as fresh quality mussel produce. There is movement in some states to value add to the product in a variety of ways. Mussels have exceptional nutritional value, particularly omega-3, so they are very good for us. I noted recently, according to the American Food and Drug Administration criteria, that mussels are an extra lean meat that is low in sodium, low in fat, cholesterol free and high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. When it comes to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, mussels have more than any other shellfish: 500 grams of mussel in the shell can yield 150 to 200 grams of raw mussel meat. This is dependent upon animal condition at the time of harvest, spawning period and conditional index. As most of you would know, I bring Tasmanian salmon up for your tasting. I have also brought up oysters. Maybe mussels will be the next tasty bit that I will be able to offer. I congratulate Spring Bay mussels on their enterprise and innovation. (Time expired)