Finfish nursery to accelerate Mid West aquaculture project

Aquaculture continues to make headlines in Western Australia with the WA Government fast-tracking plans for a Geraldton-based finfish nursery as  a catalyst for developing the Midwest Aquaculture Zone (MWADZ).

An operating finfish nursery is an essential component for attracting commercial aquaculture operators.

The fast-tracking includes resources to accelerate the design, fit-out and construction of the state-of-the-art Geraldton Marine Finfish Nursery which will supply juvenile yellowtail kingfish to commercial aquaculture companies.

The juvenile seed stocks are then moved to large offshore sea cages where they are grown out.

Accelerating the process will shave months off the previous schedule, with an operational start date now tipped for September 2021.

Tasmanian-based Huon Aquaculture has already secured a lease agreement with the WA Government for the MWADZ and has affirmed its readiness to establish operations in the region.

Estimates indicate hundreds of direct jobs when the nursery is operating at full capacity, including both direct and indirect job opportunities for local businesses supplying raw materials, goods, services, trades, transport and, eventually, tourism.

The McGowan Government has already approved $7 million for the construction and operation of the nursery and the Midwest Aquaculture Development Zone, which will significantly expand the region’s economic opportunities.

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley said the fast-tracking of project delivery is expected to foster a new level of confidence in Western Australian aquaculture.

“Fast-tracking this state-of-the-art development will bring forward construction and that is what WA needs right now to help boost economic recovery.

“With a major company like Huon Aquaculture already on board to developing its business in the Mid-West, there’s a real opportunity to take WA’s aquaculture sector to a new level,” he said.

WA Fishing Industry Council CEO, Alex Ogg said the continued growth of the aquaculture sector was encouraging and supported the seafood industry’s expansion and diversification.

Huon Aquaculture CEO, Peter Bender, welcomed the prioritised development of the Geraldton finfish nursery and said the company was keen to expand its operations into the Mid-West where it will service the Yellowtail Kingfish (Hiramasa) sashimi market.