Trainees off to Tasmania

The abalone industry in Augusta continues to grow with the announcement this month of the latest recruits to join the Ocean Grown Abalone (OGA) team.

The abalone farming group recently hired two local boys - Margaret River resident Josh Dorigo and Jack Harrington from Bunbury.

The duo are currently completing their dive certifications in Tasmania, which has been financed by OGA ahead of their start at the Augusta abalone ranch upon receipt of their commercial dive tickets.

Mr Harrington said the job allowed him to enjoy the best parts of living in the region.

"I've always loved the South West and I've grown up here diving and exploring the coast," he said. "I was so excited when this position came up and to be given the opportunity to complete a dive ticket to work commercially was an added bonus!

"We are enjoying our time here in Tasmania and I'm looking forward to starting with a great bunch of people in Augusta soon."

OGA Managing Director Brad Adams said the program allowed locals to access diving certifications that cannot be obtained on the West coast.

Construction continues at the OGA facility at Augusta harbour, with completion expected in June 2019.

Construction continues at the OGA facility at Augusta harbour, with completion expected in June 2019.

"We are always looking to employ and engage locals first and foremost," Mr Adams said.

"OGA is focused on giving back to the local community, one way we do this is by employing local people."

The business is expanding its workforce to meet the increase in demand for their premium seafood products in Australia and overseas.

With the opening of the new processing facility due to happen in June this year and their recent ASX announcement to increase their Flinders Bay lease, Mr Adams said the OGA was currently in a "real growth phase".

Traditionally found growing on reefs, abalone are subject to the world's shortest recreational fishing seasons due to the rarity of the species.

Despite fishing pressure around the globe, WA continues to hold one of the few remaining sustainable wild-stock abalone fisheries.

"Our harvest and production levels are steadily increasing each quarter, with our largest ever harvest for a quarter in December last year at 19.9 tonnes," he said.

"We are currently seeding our reefs with some 1/2million or so juvenile abalone to take advantage of the optimal growth period over winter. Plenty of work on here as we meet the international demand for our premium product."