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SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre opens

Prof. Rob Lewis, Prof. James McWha, Prof. Simon Maddocks, Mr Tony Piccolo MP and Mr Ian Nightingale at the launch of the SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre

Above: Prof. Rob Lewis, Prof. James McWha, Prof. Simon Maddocks, Mr Tony Piccolo MP and Mr Ian Nightingale at the launch of the SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre

MISA Overview (PDF 1.3MB)

MISA South Australian Aquatic Biosecurity Centre's (SAABC) capability statement (PDF 3.5MB)

Scientists dive in to study aquatic diseases, 16 November 2011, The Advertiser (external website)

Aquatic pests targeted, 16 November 2011, InDaily News (external website)

New centre will tackle marine diseases, 16 November 2011, Country Hour, ABC Rural (external website) 

High resolution photos 


The net tightens on aquatic pests and diseases

Australia’s ability to protect the health of its aquatic resources advances significantly today with the opening by Tony Piccolo MP, of the South Australian Aquatic Biosecurity Centre at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy Campus.

Caulerpa taxifolia

The $2.4m facility, funded by the South Australian Government through Marine Innovation SA (MISA), positions South Australia to become a key national provider in aquatic biosecurity research.

The SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre provides researchers with highly secure conditions for the study of aquatic pathogens and pests offering capabilities previously unavailable in Australia because of its combination of scale and level of containment. It will be jointly operated by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the University.

“Safe research involving aquatic pathogens and pests, once limited in Australia, can now be conducted in a secure environment that enables a rapid response to new threats, and on-going research to help safeguard our valuable aquatic resources,” said Mr Piccolo.

Tyringa perkinsus - low resolution“Such research is critical to the continued growth of the State’s $800m (gross food revenue) seafood industry,” he said. “Some organisms pose a threat to our seafood producers and aquatic ecosystems, and it is imperative that we can deal with these issues quickly, and preferably before they impact on our fishing industries and our coastal ecosystems.”

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association CEO, Brian Jeffriess said the Biosecurity Centre was an important step forward for the Australian seafood industry.

“Australia’s geographical isolation is no longer enough to protect us from the continuing major fish disease events in Asia and South America. This new biosecurity facility was developed with these realities front of mind.”

MISA Chair, Professor Rob Lewis, said MISA identified the urgent need for a highly secure aquatic biosecurity centre when the MISA initiative was first established in September 2005.

Perna canaliculus - low resolution“The benefits of this type of research to marine industries are enormous, including increased certainty of production, improved sustainability and market access.”

Executive Director PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Professor Mehdi Doroudi agreed, adding “It is crucial for government and industry to be prepared for the unexpected outbreaks and respond rapidly and appropriately.”

The South Australian Aquatic Biosecurity Centre (SAABC), is co-located with the University’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences offering researchers access to the School’s state-of-the art diagnostic laboratories and its veterinary specialists.

Dr Marty Deveney at SARDI - low resolutionUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor James McWha said that having the SAABC within the School grounds gave students opportunities to study aquatic animal health within the veterinary curriculum which were unique in Australia. 

"The University is pleased to host the SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre which will deliver great benefits in collaborative research and training in one of the State's most important but developing industries.

"This purpose-built centre will strengthen our animal research and teaching capacity at the Roseworthy Campus, building on our expertise in production animals, companion animals and equine health.

"Our students will have the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art facility beside internationally recognised researchers.  They will be able to take this unique experience and knowledge and apply it as animal science and veterinary professionals in a range of settings.

"The SA Aquatic Biosecurity Centre represents a significant investment in the protection and future well-being of our developing marine environment."

MISA Marine Pests Program Leader, Dr Marty Deveney said that a priority for the SAABC would include research into Perkinsus olseni, a protozoan parasite that causes serious disease in abalone.

“It’s a problem in the Central and Western Zone abalone fisheries in SA, with first outbreaks noted in the early 1980s. Prior to this new facility, there was nowhere to safely study the pathogen on a large scale. There are environmental factors that influence its expression of disease, but we don’t know what they are. We will now be able to design experiments to better understand these factors in this new lab.”

Further information contact:

SARDI Director Science Partnerships Professor Simon Maddocks, Ph: 0418 833900.
Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association CEO Brian Jeffriess, Ph: 0419840299.
SARDI Communications Heather Riddell, Ph: 0417 851936 / Terry Price, Ph: 0423 292867.
University of Adelaide Media Officer David Ellis, Ph: 0421 612 762