Our $43.7M Whale Point nursery is an Australian first; a land-based facility that enables us to grow salmon larger on land before putting them to sea. By growing our salmon to a larger size on land we improve the efficiency of our overall production cycle by reducing the time the salmon spend at sea (from 14 months, to between 9-10 months). This allows us to better manage our existing leases at sea, enabling longer fallow periods between stocking, separation of year classes, all of which delivers biosecurity and environmental benefits.
Construction of the nursery at Whale Point in Port Huon began in mid-2017, and the facility was commissioned in February 2019 when the first intake of 300,000 juvenile salmon were transferred from Huon’s state-of-the-art Forest Home hatchery to Whale Point. Two-thirds of these fish were transferred to sea at around 230 grams (in April 2019) with the remainder kept at Whale Point to grow bigger. In another first for the company, we successfully grew the biggest land-grown salmon in the Southern Hemisphere which were transferred to sea in early July 2019. Approximately 140,000 1kg+ salmon were transferred to pens in the Huon and Channel and will remain there until harvest in March/April 2020.
The facility uses world-leading water recirculation technology that enables 98% of the freshwater to be repeatedly treated and re-used. The remaining 2% of water has the solids removed (through a flocculation process which separates solid and liquid particles first through a belt filter and then centrifuge) for inclusion into compost, the nutrients are removed, the water is sterilised and is re-used on-board Huon’s well-boat. Huon is world-leading in its use of this waste management treatment system.
Facts about Whale Point include:
- We will never use antibiotics at Whale Point because this would destroy the good bacteria present in the waste management system bio-filters.
- The facility has 12 circular 16-metre diameter, 4metre deep (800m3) grow-out tanks and four smaller grading tanks at 220m3.
- It is built on the site of the APM/Amcor pulp mill that employed 170 people at its peak (in the 1970s) before being decommissioned in 1991.
- Throughout the construction phase the site was extensively cleaned up and rehabilitated in conjunction with Tasmania’s Environmental Protection Authority.
- More than 200 jobs were created (directly and indirectly) during the construction phase; with some specialised contractors coming from interstate and overseas.
- The water in the tanks is recirculated and treated twice every hour.
Images by Patrick Tigges of Billund Aquaculture