Tassal's planned prawn farm will be Queensland's largest on-land aquaculture facility. Photo: Ridley.

Prawn farm a step closer for Tassal

Approval has been given for a full environmental assessment to be carried out on a Aus$172 million (£94.2m) prawn farm planned by Australian salmon and prawn producer Tassal Group on the site of a former cattle property in Queensland.

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If approved, the project at Exmoor Station, north-west of Mackay, will follow Aus$85m of Tassal’s Gregory River prawn farm, north of Proserpine, Queensland and would create Queensland’s largest land-based aquaculture facility.

Combined, the Proserpine and Exmoor Station projects are expected to produce around 10,000 tonnes of prawns per annum from 2026, doubling the existing prawn aquaculture industry in Queensland.

$257m investment

“That’s $257 million investment in North Queensland prawn farming set to create up to 1,000 jobs and has the potential for significant flow-on effects right along the supply chain for businesses across the whole region,” said state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

 “Queensland has the potential to become the capital of global aquaculture which would be a major industry in the region which means local jobs.

“My government is committed to working with the private sector to grow industries that will create jobs for Queenslanders which is more important now more than ever as we unite and recover from the global pandemic.”

Aquaculture areas

State development minister Kate Jones said the Exmoor Station prawn farm is proposed within the Mackay aquaculture development area (ADA), one of six Queensland ADAs designated by the Palaszczuk government and announced in January 2019 to attract growth in aquaculture.

“Tassal Group already has one prawn farm near Mission Beach in Far North Queensland and another just north of Exmoor Station, at Proserpine in Central Queensland,” she said.

1,000 hectares of ponds

“Tassal Group’s plans to further expand its Queensland production footprint into the Mackay ADA at Exmoor Station would deliver the state’s largest land-based aquaculture facility with state-of-the-art hatchery, nursery and processing facilities.

“The facility is also proposed to feature up to 1,000 hectares of production ponds.”

The next step in the assessment process is for the state’s coordinator-general to prepare a draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement (EIS) and invite the community to have their say on what the EIS must address.