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Broome Aquaculture Center (BAC) could be in danger of closure by the end of 2023 in East Kimberly, Western Australia. Sources point out this is due to a lack of demand for aquaculture-trained students.
The Australian newspaper ABC reported that it had had access to an email from North Regional TAFE (Technical and Further Education) (NR-TAFE), an educational institution in Australia that offers a wide range of vocational training and education programs. In this email, it was announced that it consulting with stakeholders “regarding the proposal to cease… activities at the Broome Aquaculture Centre (BAC) by the end of 2023”.
The BAC was built to support the training, research, production, and development needs of the industry. This tropical facility plays a vital role in supporting marine finfish production while providing essential care and assistance to species. However, this may no longer be the case.
A study conducted in 2022 by the Cooperative Research Centre for the Development of Northern Australia (CRCNA), as reported by the ABC, revealed that the aquaculture industry in northern Australia is projected to require approximately 1,400 to 2,300 new skilled employees by 2030. So, to accommodate the projected growth of the industry, there is a need for workforce expansion.
Despite this information, the NR-TAFE conveyed in an email to stakeholders that their decision to discontinue activities at the BAC was primarily driven by the insufficient demand for employment opportunities for trained aquaculture students.
Furthermore, NR-TAFE stated in a statement to ABC that enrollment in aquaculture-related courses witnessed a significant decline. The figures point out a dropping from 139 students in 2019 to 24 students in 2023.
BAC is not only a center…
The center has been rearing East Kimberley barramundi for the past decade to restock nearly half a million juveniles in Lake Kununurra annually. However, local fishers express concerns that this source of revenue is at risk of depletion.
The construction of the Kununurra diversion dam in 1963 had a significant impact on the lake. For instance, it hinders the natural breeding of species like barramundi, which rely on migrating to saltwater estuaries. As a result, human intervention became necessary for the reproduction of these species.
Finally, the article added that since this freshwater lake is a safe place to fish, it attracts more visitors. In 2022, the annual Apex Kununurra Barra Bash attracted 700 families from all over the country in its event.
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