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Australia over the moon with lobster success.

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Australia over the moon with lobster success

DAFF04/228M 18 November 2004

Scientists at the University of Tasmania have achieved a major breakthrough with the production of Australia's first hatchery-reared southern rock lobsters.

Australian Fisheries and Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said the break-through was an Australian first, and the biological equivalent of "putting a man on the moon".

"This is a major achievement in the move towards the sustainable farming of lobsters and will provide significant opportunities for the future," Senator Macdonald said.

"It normally takes a lobster in the wild two years as it goes through 11 stages of development before changing into a tiny colourless lobster called a puerulus.

"The scientists have now shortened this period in the hatchery to 12 months.

"This breakthrough will place Australia at an advantage in the commercialisation of lobster farming in the future."

Senator Macdonald said hard work was now required to ensure production becomes sustainable and compatible with wild-caught fisheries.

"The Australian Government has invested over $6.4 million into rock lobster enhancement and aquaculture since 1997 through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation," Senator Macdonald said.

"I was delighted to have been able to inspect this world class work during my visit to the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI) earlier this year.

"My heartfelt congratulations to TAFI Director Professor Colin Buxton, Dr Arthur Ritar and his team of researchers.

Attempts to develop the aquaculture of southern rock lobster commenced at TAFI in 1997-98 with funding from the Tasmanian and Australian governments and, managed by the Rock Lobster Enhancement and Aquaculture Subprogram.

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: David Crisafulli (07) 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483

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