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.
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