Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Native Seaweed Harvest

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:33): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the first harvest of seaweed from the Dinko Tuna-SARDI collaboration in Port Lincoln?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:33): I thank the honourable member for this question, which I am delighted to answer. I was very pleased to head to Port Lincoln in the week before Christmas last year and to get out on the water for Dinko Tuna's first native seaweed harvest. It was a fantastic opportunity to catch up again with Lukina Lukin, owner and Managing Director of Dinko Tuna Farmers, and great to meet with new Port Lincoln Mayor, Diana Mislov, to be part of this exciting event.

The project has been a strong collaboration between Dinko Tuna and SARDI, funded by the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MBCRC). I attended the opening of their headquarters at Tonsley late last year. With a huge amount of work going into the development and potential benefits of cultivating native seaweed next to tuna aquaculture farms, the benefits and uses of the seaweed extend both in the water and outside of it.

The naturally-settling native seaweed, currently grown on more than 7.5 kilometres of lines (which members might be interested to know actually closely resemble large ropes), use nutrients in the water, such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, which improves water quality. It also enables use of the tuna aquaculture site year round, creating more jobs and filling the void that would otherwise be there after the tuna harvest finishes in winter.

Once the seaweed is harvested, a range of exciting products can be created, and that includes fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, biofuels, bioplastics, feed ingredients and even construction materials. With demand around the world for seaweed and fish-based fertiliser products expected to double by 2031, there are huge economic opportunities being presented, particularly for people such as Ms Lukin and Dinko Tuna Farmers, who are leading the way in trailblazing new paths and new ways of thinking about the possibilities that exist within the aquaculture sector.

The products under development from cultivated native seaweeds include liquid fertiliser, sustainably made from 100 per cent locally sourced ingredients. The zero waste process will see development of a poultry feed ingredient and soil improvement products from the leftover residue. Excitingly, Dinko Tuna and SARDI have also secured funding from AgriFutures Australia to develop the sought after and potentially lucrative food colouring pigment, phycoerythrin, from red seaweed as a natural alternate colorant that can be applied to a wide range of foods and beverages.

I would like to thank Ms Lukin once again for inviting me to attend this special event. I first had the pleasure of meeting Ms Lukin, I think at the very first event I attended as minister last year, when she was a finalist at the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award, to which I referred earlier today. I am certainly in awe of her drive and determination to create jobs and new pathways within aquaculture, while already producing quality, world-renowned South Australian bluefin tuna. I look forward to getting back to Port Lincoln and seeing how these products and research develop over the next few years.