12/10/2018 - 13:45

Abalone, Huon deals boost WA aquaculture

12/10/2018 - 13:45

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ASX-listed Huon Aquaculture has been granted a license to operate an aquaculture farm off Geraldton, while Fremantle-based Ocean Grown Abalone has awarded a $2.7 million contract to build a processing facility in Augusta.

Abalone, Huon deals boost WA aquaculture
Ocean Grown Abalone sources abalone from its artificial reef at Flinders Bay. Photo: Russell Ord

ASX-listed Huon Aquaculture has been granted a license to operate an aquaculture farm off Geraldton, while Fremantle-based Ocean Grown Abalone has awarded a $2.7 million contract to build a processing facility in Augusta.

The state government has given Tasmania-based Huon a 2,200-hectare lease to operate a yellowtail kingfish aquaculture farm in the Mid-West aquaculture development zone.

The company said it will now complete additional weather and tide monitoring before committing capital to the project.

“Operations will commence once supporting infrastructure has been developed, and pending an Environment Protection and Biosecurity Conservation (EPBC) self-referral,” the company said in a statement to the ASX.

“Huon are also looking to acquire a suitable shore base in Geraldton.

“Huon anticipates that this pre-operational phase could take up to two years.”

The company recently completed the first phase of a five-year Yellowtail Kingfish trial in the Port Stephen’s area off the north coast of New South Wales.

The state government recently established a shellfish hatchery in Albany, while it also operates a facility for marine finfish at Fremantle.

The Fremantle hatchery will supply juvenile kingfish stock to Huon’s fish farm in the Mid-West zone where the fish will be grown to maturity.

Premier Mark McGowan said WA’s industry had strong growth potential.

“We have some of the best aquaculture growth opportunities here in Western Australia, something that Huon has recognised with their substantial investment towards a large scale yellowtail kingfish farm,” he said.

“The zone’s location off the Geraldton coast gives Huon access to infrastructure, support services and freight options that in turn will help create additional indirect jobs.

“Having visited the Mid-West region several times already this year, the benefits of growing aquaculture in this area is becoming more apparent. Aquaculture gives this region an added point of difference which will create jobs and boost the local economy.”

Shares in Huon were up 0.62 per cent at $4.85 each at 3.55pm AEDT.

Meanwhile, Ocean Grown has appointed Busselton-based Big Ben Builders to build a processing facility at the Augusta Marina, near the company’s artificial reefs at Flinders Bay.

Under the contract, Big Ben will construct a single storey seafood and storage facility.

The company said the new facility will increase capacity and efficiency.

“Current production is constrained, resulting in divers being restricted on harvest production volumes limited to the capacity of the existing production facility capacity,” Ocean Grown said in a statement.

“Increased production capacity provides the ability to reduce unit costs of production and higher utilisation rates of capital equipment.”

Shares in Ocean Grown were off 14.29 per cent at 15 cents each at 3.45pm AEDT.

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