Fish feed factory flagged by BioMar Australia for former Wesley Vale board mill site.

A company proposing a $56 million fish feed factory in Tasmania’s north-west is reassuring the local community it will meet smell and noise restrictions.

BioMar Australia hopes to set up the factory at Wesley Vale, near Devonport, producing 110,000 tonnes of aqua feed per year and creating 55 ongoing jobs.

The managing director of BioMar UK, Paddy Campbell, said construction was expected to begin next July, and it hoped to produce the first pellets in September 2019.

One in three farmed salmon in Tasmania is fed BioMar fish feed products, currently being exported from Scotland.

“We looked at different places to build the factory and the primary reason we chose Tasmania is because the industry here has got huge growth potential and we want to be close to our Tasmanian customers,” he said.

“We believe this area is going to be an area of outstanding growth potential for salmon and trout production.”

Jeremy Rockliff (second, left) looks at plans for the Wesley Vale fish feed factory.

The factory will be built on the site of the former particle board mill which closed in 2012.

Mr Campbell reassured the local community that smell and noise pollution would not be a concern.

“We have to ensure that noise, and we have to ensure that smell is below the legislative limits set by the EPA and we will do that,” he said.

He said the company would strive to source its materials locally.

“Growth has to be sustainable,” he said.

“We ensure what we do is sustainable and we’re always driving to improve sustainability.

Man holding a fish feed pellet, image from Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association webpage.

“So how we source our raw materials will be key and we would like to try, if possible, to use local raw materials, sustainable materials, local crops.

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockcliff said the Government was backing the BioMar Group with a $2.3 million assistance grant.

“It’s a great collaboration to bring jobs to the north-west region and an example of a sustainable salmon industry and the jobs that can be created outside the three major companies.

Premier Will Hodgman said the development would create hundreds of jobs in the construction phase.

“It will provide longstanding jobs for Tasmanians; 250 in the construction, 55 in the operation and also will ensure the business continues to invest in research and development and to support Tasmania’s industry,” he said.

Mayor welcomes ‘early Christmas present’

Latrobe Deputy Mayor Rick Rockcliff said it was an exciting announcement for the municipality ahead of Christmas.

“A big development like this that employs a lot of people is going to be excellent for our community, not only the development itself but the flow on effect to other businesses I think is fantastic,” he said.

“It sort of starts to rebuild our position I think from quite some time ago from when the mill closed down.

“It’s great to see the site being used and hopefully that’ll flow on to the other main mill site where can attract other downstream agricultural processing industries.”

Huon Aquaculture chief executive Peter Bender welcomed the announcement.

“We use BioMar feed and having it locally produced to the highest standard is welcome news for us here at Huon,” he said.

In a statement, Petuna’s David Wood said it was positive for the salmon industry that all three major aquafeed producers would soon have feed mills in Tasmania.

Ridley Corporation announced its plans to build a mill in Westbury in the state’s north earlier this year.

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