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Assessing the benefits of sea urchin processing waste as an agricultural fertiliser and soil ameliorant

Urchin harvesting is currently the most significant urchin control measure with over 700 t of urchin being landed over the past three years. Of this ~500 t is waste comprising shells and spines, guts and liquid/moisture. Currently dumping costs are exceed $200/t and conversion of the waste into a saleable product is an obvious way of increasing industry profitability. Preliminary biochemical analyses and pilot trial of urchin waste as agricultural fertiliser/soil conditioner proved highly successful with waste shown to contain a variety of macro and micro-nutrients essential for plant growth, including some highly deficient in Tasmanian soils. This investment will develop commercial scale processing equipment for urchin waste. The project will determine the nutrient composition of waste, the potential agronomic benefits and undertake a comparison with other foliar fertilisers and soil conditioners on the market. The results will inform a decision on the commercial viability of using urchin waste as fertiliser.

Project date

1 Nov 2020-29 Aug 2023
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Principal investigator

Nigel Swarts

Research organisation

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Project led by

Multiple industries
Aquaculture Wild catch fisheries

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) is a co-funded partnership between its two stakeholders, the Australian Government and the …

Multiple industries
Aquaculture Wild catch fisheries
  • Location

    Australia wide

  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

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Focus areas

Sustainabilities

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