The Port of Stanley is being considered as a potential land base for fish farm expansion in north-west Tasmania, with Petuna Aquaculture and TasPorts announcing a joint assessment of the site.
By Leon Compton
The 12-month agreement will allow time to look at “development and investment” opportunities at the site.
The Port of Stanley is run-down in parts, with some public access lost in recent years because of safety issues.
According to TasPorts chief operating officer Anthony Donald, the site is underutilised and ripe for the sort of investment a company like Petuna could bring.
Petuna, more than any of the three major players in Tasmania’s salmon industry, needs to move beyond Macquarie Harbour.
The west coast waterway — where Petuna, Huon Aquaculture and Tassal have leases — is not capable of supporting the volume of salmon that the industry hoped it would three years ago.
But Petuna relies on Macquarie Harbour to generate the majority of its income, so it must work fast to try and find new waters for fish.
Petuna said the support of community, recreational and commercial fishers would be required for any development to go ahead.
According to the Stanley Chamber of Commerce, locals want the jobs the salmon industry would bring but also want to safeguard the recent prosperity built on tourism and professional fishing.
The chamber recently passed a motion asking the Government for more detailed research before determining whether they would support the aquaculture industry coming to town.
“My members say yes to the jobs,” said chamber chairman Bernard Atkins.
“But what happens to the waste around the pens? What impact will that have on the rock lobster? The local fish?”
The Tasmanian Government’s salmon expansion map shows that a base in Stanley would put Petuna right in the heart of one of only three areas in Tasmania that have been identified as “future salmon grounds”.
The area covers the coast from Rocky Cape, east of Stanley, to the state’s westernmost tip at Cape Grim.
Stanley is within striking distance of the second possible area for expansion — King Island.