This year has represented exciting firsts for both the Ornatas team and the global seafood innovation sector. Our biggest milestone was establishing the world’s first Tropical Rock Lobster hatchery and the successful development and launch of our Moreton Bay bug program.
Over the course of 2020, we’ve been rapidly building momentum and the expertise in our team to transition into the commercialisation of our products at the Toomulla Beach Aquaculture Facility.
Great Progress in Development of Toomulla Beach Hatchery:
Following the arrival of Moreton Bay bug broodstock at our hatchery in March, we successfully trialled our first commercial-scale operation to grow out Moreton Bay bugs. Our bugs are the quiet heroes this year, serving as a pivotal part of trialling the Ornatas Aquaculture systems and preparing the team for the Tropical Rock Lobster hatchery operations. Over the course of the year, the continual progress and improvements of the Moreton Bay bug hatchery have led to some strong runs now progressing through to grow-out phase.
In September, we celebrated the establishment of the world’s first Tropical Rock Lobster hatchery at our Toomulla Aquaculture Facility. Moreton Bay bug trialling in this new system commenced in late September, forging the path for the success of our Tropical Rock Lobster hatchery systems. Our first Tropical Rock Lobster broodstock arrived in October and has now successfully acclimatised to their new hatchery environment. Inspection of this broodstock in the week leading up to Christmas also revealed that some of the female broodstock were successfully carrying eggs, commencing the first hatchery run of Tropical Rock Lobster broodstock on a commercial scale.
Hatchery Manager Anna Overweter said that the focus will now shift to the next level which is the commercial grow out of Tropical Rock Lobsters in the hatchery.
“The systems that we put in behind that, the delicate process, the feed, everything will be taken to the next level to grow happy and successful lobsters”
Coordinating with Industry and Government
In addition to the promising progress within the hatchery, we have also proudly hosted a range of industry and government visits to the Ornatas Toomulla Beach hatchery. Over the busy month of September, the Ornatas team were pleased to host visits from key stakeholders from across Australia. Councillor Jenny Hill, Mayor of Townsville, as well as representatives from a range of QLD government departments including Parks and Wildlife, Agriculture and Fisheries, Transport and Main Roads, QLD Rail and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, came to see the facilities first-hand. Our team were delighted to also welcome a significant group from the Northern Territory and Office of Northern Australia to our Moreton Bay Big and Tropical Rock lobster Hatcheries. Northern Territory representatives included the Honourable Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, and Senator Susan McDonald, as well as General Manager Ms Linda Lee, Directors Ms Brenda McAuliffe and Ms Belinda Carlson, and Mr Micheal Kitchener of the office of Northern Australia. The visits provided increased momentum for Ornatas operations and provided opportunities for Government and industry to visit and learn more about the site and its operations.
Moving Forward into 2021
CEO Scott Parkinson said that the combined progress through 2020 has allowed Ornatas to expand its operations and put it in a strong position to support the further development of the facility and begin growing commercial quantities of the Tropical Rock lobsters in 2021.
“Scaling up the technology to support a production of 1000 tonne of lobsters annually over the next 10 years will be the focus, with sustainability and biosecurity the top priority.”
After a busy and productive year, the Ornatas team are excited to be shifting their focus towards the Tropical Rock Lobster and continuing the positive trajectory moving into 2021. We have built strong research and industry partners who will help us achieve our ambitious goals for next year.
Ornatas would like to extend a big thank you to all of our partners, visitors, the Ornatas team, and the general community for their commitment and support to our work over the course of the year.