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Australia’s largest aquaculture company plans to invest more than $30 million in rehabilitating and developing a prawn farm in Proserpine.

Tassal, which acquired the site in 2018, said local suppliers and contractors would be a key focus for the company.

Head of engagement for Tassal, Barbara McGregor, said civil works tenders had been received and contracts would be awarded from this week.

“We pride ourselves on partnering strongly with regional communities where we operate and there are lots of opportunities for local businesses to help rehabilitate and develop the farm into a leading Australian production hub, and for them to then become long-term partners with us,” Ms McGregor said.

Initially the farm will seek to employ about 30 people during construction, with 100 jobs to become available once operational.  

Ms McGregor said Tassal maintained a focus on supporting local communities when it came to jobs.

“Significantly, the farm will require a broad range of skills including farm hands, trade-qualified employees through to tertiary-qualified aquaculture and environmental specialists,” Ms McGregor said.

Improvements to the farm include the redevelopment of about 200 hectares of land-based ponds, which ultimately will increase volume by about 2000 to 3000 tonnes, a redeveloped processing facility and hatchery, and scope for a domestic breeding program.  

“To put it into perspective, this project once completed will have the effect of increasing Queensland’s current farmed prawn production by 50 per cent,” Ms McGregor said.

Tassal managing director Mark Ryan said Tassal would invest $34 million in a development program.

“We currently process and sell prawns through Tassal’s De Costi Seafoods and we are conscious of the fact our customers are demanding more prawns than we can currently supply,” he said. 

“Research is showing home-grown Aussie prawns are a clear preference for consumers. Our aim is to develop environmentally sound, technologically advanced farms that enable us to deliver on consumer needs.”

Big plans for Proserpine prawn farm