Australia Eyes Development of Crocodile Meat Industry

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 12, 2014 8:45 AM EST

A green paper prepared by the Australian federal government proposes expanding the crocodile meat industry in the northern part of the country to have a larger cut of the global market.

The paper listed several areas that the government and industry could focus on to boost the sector. These are business, trade, investment, infrastructure, land access, water management, education, research and innovation and governance.

Australia has around 100,000 crocodiles, but many of them are in the outback and a menace to the area as they attack and kill people on water.

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By developing further the crocodile meat as well as skin sectors, Australia seeks to find new business opportunities beyond the mining and resources sectors.

The paper cited the crocodile skin industry as a potential export income since northern Australian farms are one of the sources of the reptile skin used by European fashion houses. But Australia accounts for only 10 per cent of that market.

Angela Freeman, spokeswoman of Hartley's Crocodile Farm, sought state and federal government support for the sector, which is currently zero, particularly funding source.

"If we were able to get some funding to assist us with housing some of these larger crocs that are problematic - then we can look at putting some of these animals together and forming some more breeding colonies so we can get a little but more volume happening, in terms of our breeding," Cairns Post quoted Freeman.

The federal government aims to deliver the white paper on development northern Australia for a more defined policy platform within the next 12 months. It includes plans to implement policies over the next 2, 5, 10 and 20 years.

Crocodile meat sells for $260 per kilogramme, according to Dr Tigest Ashagre, manager of a crocodile farm in Ethiopia, which is planning to export croc meat to Asia.

The farm was established in 1976 and has 7,750 crocodiles in its breeding pool and conservation site. It is shifting to export of crocodile meat because of the slower demand for the reptile's skin.

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