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Seafood-to-plate on grand scale

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AUSTRALIA’S aquaculture industry is underdeveloped but has enormous potential, Huon Aquaculture company director, Peter Bender says.

Announcing Huon Aquaculture’s acquisition of Adelaide-based premium seafood producer Springs Smoked Seafoods , Bender said the potential for building economies of scale on the ‘gate to plate’ delivery of farmed seafood was untapped.

“Bringing Tasmania’s leading salmon farm together with Australia’s most successful salmon processor and marketer creates an unrivalled vertically integrated aquaculture business with a turnover of approximately $60 million,” Bender said.

“Huon Aquaculture is a cutting edge salmon farm, whose turnover is greater than the entire Tasmanian apple industry. Springs Smoked Seafoods has established an unrivalled national reputation and presence from start-up in the fledging industry only 15 years ago.

“Together we are confident of sustained success and growth.”

Bender said the move was significant and timely as the industry was still in its infancy and had strong opportunities for growth.

Founded in 1985, Huon Aquaculture will this year farm 4,800 tonnes of salmon at the mouth of the Huon River, south of Hobart. The company employs 100 people.

Springs Smoked Seafoods employs approximately 110 people to process more than 1,400 tonnes of raw fish at its South Australian base and through its direct distribution networks in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.

Bender said the acquisition would create further investment opportunities in the aquaculture industries of both States – focused on breeding and value-adding.

“Both companies pride themselves on being clean and green and cutting-edge in terms of aquaculture innovation and technology,” Bender said.

“Compared to competing companies overseas who produce salmon in a ‘battery hen’ environment, our quality fish are unstressed, fresher and safer, so consumers know exactly what they are getting.

“Having a guaranteed retail outlet for the fish that we grow, with the quality and reputation Springs Smoked Seafoods has established, provides us with a fantastic opportunity to grow our business, while supporting the Springs brand. This will most certainly create exciting growth and investment opportunities for us in SA and Tasmania.”

Springs Smoked Seafoods director, Richard Harris, said the acquisition would encourage even greater potential for import replacement, local industry development, and export growth.

“This move will benefit the nation’s aquaculture industry, providing an extension of Tasmania’s finfish growing operations and a valuable investment in SA, giving Springs Smoked Seafoods the ability to process and package, distribute and market value-added seafood and a base for Huon Aquaculture to potentially expand its farming operations into SA,” Harris said.

“In addition, it will benefit customers and staff, while quality will not be compromised, service will be enhanced, and employment opportunities will be secured and potentially expanded.

“This is an exciting time for both companies, consumers, staff and Australia’s aquaculture industry – and we are looking forward to a prosperous future.”

Huon Aquaculture Company – founded by Peter and Frances Bender in 1985 – farms salmon at the mouth of the Huon River, south of Hobart.

The company uses state-of the-art techniques and technology designed to produce premium salmon in a sustainable, pristine environment.

The privately-owned company is the second largest salmon producer in Australia behind the publicly-listed Tassal Group Ltd.

Springs Smoked Seafood was established by Richard and Valerie Harris at Mount Barker near Adelaide in May, 1990.

The company – whose brand is recognised for the premium nature of its product – sells its products to 700 supermarkets nationally and to more than 30 export customers while also being supplied for Qantas in-flight meals.

Springs has sourced its salmon from Huon Aquaculture Company since 1996.

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