Plans to fly fish straight to China from Bundaberg
CHILDERS fish farm Abington Aquaculture is set to a export its fresh products to China.
Owner Cliff Crampton is financing the farm aided by business partner Douglas Dilger.
What promises to become a lucrative income stream for the rural business took a step forward with Bundaberg Regional Council giving its approval to a development permit for a material change of use.
Mr Crampton, who owns the farm through his Lana's Electric Tours and Rentals company, successfully sought to get approval to use 5ha of the 81ha site on a rural zone at 510 Abington Rd for the business.
Declaring his interest as a shareholder in Abington Aquaculture, councillor Greg Barnes stood aside from the decision making when his fellow Bundaberg councillors gave the nod for its go-ahead.
"I have a real conflict... material involvement with the company, I exclude myself," Cr Barnes told the public meeting before the vote was taken on its development permit.
The council approval was unanimous.
Abington will be a freshwater aquaculture facility and supply native fish to Australian and international markets, specifically Shanghai.
It includes the production of freshwater fingerlings and mass production of indigenous fin fish in a reticulated closed system.
Fish such as Australian bass, silver perch, gold perch, barramundi and mangrove jack will be grown.
Mr Crampton said there would be no use of antibiotics, growth hormones or chemicals - "it's all natural, that's where the flavour is," he said.
The farm will have three storage dams, two grow-out dams to hold between 500,000 and 600,000 stock in each, a hatchery, and 33 concrete channels.
Now that Abington Aquaculture is approved to increase its ability to grow fish and tonnage it can go ahead and supply a Chinese company with product for the Shanghai fish markets.
Mr Crampton said the markets sell around $11 billion of fish produce a year.
A Shanghai company had already agreed to buy its fish products.
"The owner came here three months ago. The Chinese see Australia as green and clean," he said.
"They own their own aircraft and can fly out to pick up fresh produce. It's huge."
Mr Crampton said they would not be in the business if they thought they could not make money out of it.
He said Bundaberg producers should be targeting direct freight links into China.
"We have got to wake up the sleeping giant that's here. We are a food bowl," he said.