A purpose-built storage and processing facility opened on Saturday at Augusta Boat Harbour will allow the world's first commercial greenlip abalone sea ranching business to meet growing international demand for the ocean-grown delicacy.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan officially opened Augusta-based Ocean Grown Abalone's (OGA) new building, which was supported with a $485,000 contribution from the McGowan Government.
Built to export standards, the facility unlocks growth opportunities for the business by allowing it to process greater amounts of its locally-harvested product.
The previous processing facility experienced bottlenecks, restricting the volumes divers could bring back.
Ms MacTiernan said streamlining processes and the utilisation of new technology would result in additional value-added lines for retail and food services.
"Ocean Grown Abalone is a great Western Australian success story, taking locally-produced product to the rest of Australia and the world," Ms MacTiernan said.
"Our Government's investment will enable OGA to boost exports to the Asian marketplace, bringing this Western Australian delicacy to the world and creating local job opportunities at the processing facility - including skilled labour to service equipment and maintain the building.
"We also welcome OGA's support for the McGowan Government's commitment to employing local people and engaging local businesses during the construction phase."
The ability to deliver abalone straight from the ocean to live tanks onsite will unlock opportunities for OGA to increase live abalone for the export market.
The newly built facility includes closed-circuit seawater holding tanks, a holding freezer and chiller room.
The construction of the building was led by South West firm Big Ben Builders, which provided local employment and subcontracting opportunities.
The McGowan Government provided funding through its Regional Economic Development Grants, Grants for Asian Market Export, and Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the government had identified aquaculture as a key industry to support job creation, "particularly in regional WA".
"Ocean Grown Abalone is a fantastic example of how the aquaculture industry can make a significant contribution to our local economy," Mr Kelly said.
"The support provided to OGA is part of the considerable support the McGowan Government has provided to the aquaculture industry in WA."