24 January 2024

Tasmania launches new 86-metre vessel to ship fish feed to New Zealand

| James Day
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BioMar's facility in Devonport, Tasmania.

BioMar’s facility in Wesley Vale, near Devonport, where they ship fish feed from. Photo: BioMar.

The Tasmanian Government has launched a new $20 million vessel that will transport fish feed on a direct shipping route between the island state and New Zealand.

Last year, the Devonport-based subsidiary of BioMar Australia placed an order for the 86-metre ‘ECOline’ vessel with a Vietnamese shipyard.

Now the Danish company, which supplies high-performance fish feed to the aquaculture industry, will use the ECOline’s 100 container capacity for delivering up to 3000 tonnes of fish feed on each voyage to key markets.

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Premier Jeremy Rockliff noted the company’s recent milestone exporting 30,000 tonnes of fish feed from Wesley Vale in the state’s north to New Zealand on MOVE Oceans’ small MPP Atlas Wind. The achievement became possible following the state government’s support for BioMar’s trade and investment mission to New Zealand in August 2022, which secured the direct Trans-Tasman shipping service a month later.

“We know Tasmania has what the world wants, and with this new vessel set to service the Trans-Tasman shipping route it will be easier than ever for BioMar to access this key export market without having to go via the port of Melbourne.

“This increase in trade will add significant economic benefits for our state as we work towards our goal of growing our exports to $15 billion by 2050.”

BioMar’s Managing Director David Whyte said the company had employed more than 70 people and invested more than $100 million into Tasmania since it began operations there in 2020.

“We are both contributing and leveraging off Tasmania’s proud aquaculture industry, and this latest investment is a vote of confidence in aquaculture’s strong and sustainable future.”

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Opposing the state government’s move was the Bob Brown Foundation, which cited a report into Antarctic krill fishing from last year that revealed Biomar feed produced in Tasmania for salmon contained 1200 tonnes of krill meal per year.

Antarctic and Marine campaigner for the organisation, Alistair Allan, claimed Biomar was responsible for not only facilitating the “environmental disaster that is salmon farming”, but also the “plunder of the Antarctic by supertrawlers as well”.

“Premier Rockliff time and again shows that he has absolutely no regard for the oceans, rivers and bays of Tasmania and instead chooses to throw his support completely behind this environmentally destructive industry.

“Whether it be causing the extinction of the Maugean Skate, the bombing of native seals, or supporting companies that pillage the Antarctic wilderness, Premier Rockliff is catastrophic for our marine environment.

“The Premier must not allow this to become part of Tasmania’s legacy. Fish farms need to be removed from Macquarie Harbour immediately.”

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