Ab farm washing up

CLEAN-UP: Rings, rope, plastic and netting having been breaking up from the lease sites and washing to shore and out to sea. Picture: Tim Kierse.
CLEAN-UP: Rings, rope, plastic and netting having been breaking up from the lease sites and washing to shore and out to sea. Picture: Tim Kierse.

PIECES of the tonnes of infrastructure left behind by failed aquaculture venture Ocean Abalone Australia have been washing up on the West Coast.

Ocean Abalone Australia held five marine-based aquaculture licences leases in Anxious Bay but when the company was placed into receivership in February this year and the business was not sold, the infrastructure was left abandoned. 

I was out in my boat two Sundays ago and there is a massive amount of infrastructure out there still, it’s ridiculous.

Tim Kierse

Elliston resident Tim Kierse said debris from the abalone farm had always been washing up but it had escalated since the venture was abandoned. 

“Someone would have known they were going into receivership so why weren’t they made to remove it all?”

“I was out in my boat two Sundays ago and there is a massive amount of infrastructure out there still, it’s ridiculous,” Mr Kierse said. 

He said rope, rings and netting were tangled up at the site, which in addition to breaking up and washing to shore, floated around on the water posing a risk to boats.

Mr Kierse said bits of the farm were breaking up and washing up all along the coast.

“Some of it is breaking up and washing up in places where it’s hard to get to,” he said.

Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell said in parliament last week Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) had engaged a supplier who would begin removing equipment in the near future and site rehabilitation was to be completed by the end of the year. 

Mr Kierse said he thought PIRSA was doing the best it could to clean up the mess.

“The only way they’re going to be able to remove it completely is with a purse seine trawler or a ship with a crane on it,” he said. 

Elliston District Council chairman Kym Callaghan said one of his concerns was the region was moving into its busy tourist season. 

He said he did not want the debris from the farm to cause an accident where people were hurt or a boat sunk. 

“While it is annoying for parts to wash up, the last thing we want is for people to get hurt.

“It has to get cleaned up but what we want to know is when and how long it’s going to take,” Mr Callaghan said.

PIRSA were contacted for comment but did not respond by the deadline.