Posted on April 11, 2019
Petuna CEO Ruben Alvarez said the proposed expansion into Storm Bay would include a two-year capital program, during which time the company would need to undertake rigorous, regular environmental monitoring as well as extensive and ongoing stakeholder and community engagement.
“The focus of our stakeholder engagement program for Storm Bay to this point has been on consultation with parties that may be directly impacted by the development to ensure any feedback can be considered in the project design and planning,” Mr Alvarez said.
“However, a critical part of the next phase for us will be to engage not only with those stakeholders directly impacted by, but also with an interest in the development as well as the wider Tasmanian community.”
Petuna’s approved site is located in the north-central area of the Bay, 11.5 kilometres from the shore, making it the most remote off-shore marine farm in Tasmania.
Mr Alvarez said the company’s expansion into southern Tasmania would deliver a multi-million-dollar investment program, creating significant new employment opportunities and providing economic stimulus for local communities.
“Our development will be a stand-alone operation, providing direct employment of 37 new FTE positions and generating 130 indirect roles within the local community and aquaculture service industry,” he said.
Mr Alvarez said diversifying Petuna’s lease bases would enable the company to continue to farm conservatively in Macquarie Harbour, while maintaining steady growth to meet increased market demand.
“Petuna’s marine farms are stocked at some of the lowest commercial stocking densities in the world. Conservative biomass management has always been and will continue to be an inherent company philosophy,” he said.
“Our research to this point supports the view that the off-shore, deep waters of Storm Bay will enable fish welfare to be optimised in a best-practice farming environment.
“Petuna fully understand and accepts its social obligation to help maintain Tasmania’s pristine marine environment for decades to come and it is in our commercial best interest to do so.”
Mr Alvarez said at the heart of Petuna’s consultative process was a commitment to best practice community engagement, which meant going above and beyond what is necessary to meet statutory obligations and working to ensure the development has a social licence to operate for the full life cycle of the project.
“Fundamental to achieving this understanding, is developing trust and relationships based on mutual benefit, mutual respect and ongoing open and transparent engagement at the community level.
“It is our aim to work collaboratively with our host communities to establish a sense of common purpose and mutual benefit.”
Petuna was started as a family business 70 years ago by Peter and Una Rockliff, whose vision was for Tasmania to be recognised internationally for the quality and excellence of its marine produce.
While the company is Tasmania’s smallest aquaculture business, it is Australia’s largest domestic retail supplier of salmon and ocean trout and is one of the state’s largest job creators.