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Seafood company Tassal Group is buying a 1300ha property neighbouring its Proserpine prawn farm with an eye to further expansion.

The $7 million deal to buy Billy Creek is expected to pave the way for an enlarged prawn farming precinct in the area.

Tassal has already received regulatory approval for 450ha of prawn ponds at Proserpine.

It stocked prawn ponds of 270ha last financial year, with 340ha targeted for stocking in FY22.

Tassal said today the combination of its existing Proserpine land with Billy Creek would provide the opportunity for about 350ha of further ponds, supporting a total of about 800ha of ponds across the wider precinct.

“Tassal’s successful diversification into prawn farming over the past 12 months has added a second major species to our aquaculture portfolio, in a growing market aligned to our core skills and supply chain advantages, and provides geographic and species diversification,” Tassal managing director and chief executive officer Mark Ryan said.

“Prawn biomass growth is tracking to plan for delivery of the targeted 20,000 tonnes per annum by 2030.

“Securing the right land for future farming expansion is the key to successfully implementing our prawn strategy.

“We will always consider opportunities as they arise, particularly if they can better facilitate delivery of our strategic plan. With Billy Creek, we believe we will have a more economical farming path and portfolio of land assets to support delivery of our strategic goals.”

This would take priority over the company’s planned development of Exmoor Station prawn farm within the Mackay aquaculture development area.

Tassal said Exmoor Station remained a strategic path for the next phase of growth beyond the Proserpine prawn “farming precinct” and that it planned to retain about 1000ha of land there.

However it plans to sell about 6000ha of surplus land at Exmoor Station to
release cash for future prawn expansion and optimise returns on invested capital.

The purchase price for Billy Creek is about $7 million (excluding acquisition costs) and includes cattle and cane assets on the property that have been valued around. $700,000. Settlement is expected on November 9.