Tasmanian seafood giant Huon Aquaculture is planning to establish a 24,000 tonne, 2,200 hectare fish farm off Western Australia’s Abrolhos Islands.
WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the company had signed a contract with the State Government for a lease in the Mid West Aquaculture Development Zone, and would grow out yellowtail kingfish.
Mr Kelly said Huon’s venture, once fully operational, could create up to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“To get an operator like Huon who know what they’re doing and have the know-how to do aquaculture well is great coup for WA.”
WA aquaculture ‘significantly underdone’
Mr Kelly said it would be one of the biggest seafood operations in the state, selling to both domestic and international markets.
“Aquaculture is something that, compared to other states, has been significantly underdone [in WA],” he said.
Mr Kelly said for the first 12 to 18 months Huon would trial sea cages to ensure their suitability for WA conditions.
“They anticipate by year four they’ll be able to harvest approximately 500 tonnes of fish a year … and then over the next 10 years build up to full production,” he said.
The 21 year lease will generate $8 million in lease fees.
The State Government began negotiations with Huon after it called for expressions of interest for aquaculture groups to set up operations in the newly established Mid West Aquaculture Development Zone.
It said Huon was the only company to put in a comprehensive proposal, which was then evaluated by the Department.
The zone is 3,000 hectares in total and will be filled by Huon along with an existing yellowtail fish farm.