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The Western Australian Government is accelerating the construction of a Geraldton-based finfish nursery in order to expedite Midwest Aquaculture Zone investment and create jobs.

The design, fit-out and construction processes have all been fast-tracked for the state-of-the-art Geraldton Marine Finfish Nursery to facilitate the supply of juvenile yellowtail kingfish to commercial aquaculture companies, a prerequisite for commercial-scale farming.

The Western Australian Government said the nursery’s ability to provide seed stocks for grow-out in the sea cages of new and existing operations is central to the creation of new jobs and the growth of the local economy.

Western Australian Fisheries Minister, Peter Tinley, said, “Accelerating completion of the Marine Finfish Nursery at Geraldton is another economic stimulus designed to create jobs and aid WA’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fast-tracking this state-of-the-art development will bring forward construction and that is what WA needs right now to help boost economic recovery.

“With a major company like Huon Aquaculture already on board to develop its business in the Mid West, there’s a real opportunity to take WA’s aquaculture sector to a new level.

“The nursery offers a fantastic opportunity for business investment in the Midwest Zone to develop and grow both existing and new markets through the supply of high-quality, sustainable seafood.”

Estimates indicate hundreds of direct jobs will be generated when the nursery is operating at full capacity, including both direct and indirect job opportunities for local businesses supplying raw materials, goods, services, trades, transport and, eventually, tourism.

Huon Aquaculture CEO, Peter Bender, said, “Huon Aquaculture’s record in delivering local jobs in the regional communities where we farm is well documented.

“We are excited at the opportunity to expand our operations into the Mid West and the Yellowtail Kingfish (Hiramasa) sashimi market, and welcome the WA Government’s push to prioritise development of the Geraldton finfish nursery.

“An operating finfish nursery is a crucial component of our move to WA.”

The Western Australian Government has already approved $7 million for the construction and operation of the nursery and the Midwest Aquaculture Development Zone, and is prepared for new operations that are expected to significantly expand the region’s economic opportunities.

Accelerating the process is expected to shave months off the previous schedule, and it is now estimated that nursery operations could start as early as September 2021.

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