A hatchery in Whale Point will be Huon's first step towards land-based fish farming. (Photo Huon-FIS)
Huon Aquaculture plans to start salmon fish farming on land
Friday, April 07, 2017, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
Huon Aquaculture is designing an AUD 30 million (USD 22.6 million) facility at Whale Point near Port Huon, which will represents the first step towards land-based fish farming.
The firm is planning to make smolts grow on land until they reach larger sizes than the current ones before being transferred to the marine cages.
In fact, it points out that the new site would result in the transfer of young salmon weighing 500-600g by 2019 compared with the present average weight of 200g,The Mercury reported.
The proposed salmon nursery would create 200 jobs during construction and a further 30 ongoing full-time positions across the business, including 10 at the hatchery.
As the proposal comes at a controversial time for the industry with community concern about allegations of environmental problems in Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast and plans by salmon rival Tassal for a fish farm at Okehampton Bay on the East Coast, Huon will start a round of community consultation with an information session about the plans.
“We have been watching the development of land-based technologies for some time and we are preparing to take our first step toward it with a new ‘salmon-nursery’,’’ pointed out Huon Aquaculture chief executive and co-founder Peter Bender in a presentation to investors at the Australian Securities Exchange.
He also said the plan was to grow smolt on land to much larger sizes before they were transferred to sea pens.
“The benefit of a salmon nursery is that we get to research the fish as they grow and see how they perform in land-based growing facilities,” Bender explained.
The entrepreneur stressed that these types of facilities are not currently commercially viable to grow fish all the way to harvest at around 5kg, adding that through this research and keeping a very close eye on technological advances globally, they have been able to be at the forefront of developing the technology locally.
“It also means that the time the fish are at sea is reduced which will further improve the company’s environmental performance through longer fallowing and improved biosecurity,” he concluded.
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