EXMOOR Station north west of Mackay is a step closer to being redeveloped for aquaculture after it was declared a coordinated project this week.
Tassal, which is Australia's largest aquaculture company, acquired Fortune Group's three farms at Proserpine, Mission Beach and Yamba, NSW in September 2018.
They last year continued their expansion in the north purchasing the 7012 hectare Exmoor Station at Bloomsbury, north of Mackay.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said the Mackay-Whitsunday region was set to become a major aquaculture hub with Tassal investing $257 million in the region.
This includes an $85 million expansion of the Gregory River Prawn Farm, north of Proserpine.
Ms Palaszczuk said Tassal's $172 million project at Exmoor Station had been declared a coordinated project which means a full environmental impact assessment of the project can now begin.
"If approved this project will follow the full development of the Proserpine expansion and would create Queensland's largest land-based aquaculture facility," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Combined, these projects are expected to produce around 10,000 tonnes of prawns per annum from 2026 - doubling the existing prawn aquaculture industry in Queensland.
"That's $257 million investment in North Queensland prawn farming set to create up to 1000 jobs and has the potential for significant flow-on effects right along the supply chain for businesses across the whole region.
"Queensland has the potential to become the capital of global aquaculture which would be a major industry in the region which means local jobs."
State Development Minister Kate Jones said the Exmoor Station Prawn Farm is proposed within the Mackay aquaculture development area, one of six ADAs designated by the Palaszczuk Government in January 2019 to attract growth in aquaculture.
"Tassal Group's plans to further expand its Queensland production footprint into the Mackay ADA at Exmoor Station would deliver the state's largest land-based aquaculture facility with state-of-the-art hatchery, nursery and processing facilities," Ms Jones said.
"The facility is also proposed to feature up to 1000 hectares of production ponds."
Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said aquaculture was the world's fastest growing food industry.
Tassal Group's Head of Supply Chain and Commercial Services Ben Daley said the company was pleased to be expanding Queensland's aquaculture industry, creating economic and jobs growth that would benefit regional Queensland.
"We look forward to continuing working with the Queensland Government on our plans to further develop the industry's enormous potential," Mr Daley said.
"Queensland produces some of Australia's best seafood and we're confident there's a bright future in increasing locally grown produce. We plan to meet growing demand from Australian consumers as well as selected overseas markets for a great tasting, quality product.
"It's predicted that by 2026, the Mackay-Whitsunday Tassal Group facilities could be producing a combined output of about 10,000 tonnes of prawns annually to help meet growing domestic demand and to further develop export markets."