Milestone for major aquaculture project
The Commonwealth Government has extended the major project status of a $1.5 billion aquaculture project in the Northern Territory.
Project Sea Dragon is the world’s largest prawn farm and is expected to create 1,600 jobs in the Top End.
The renewal of the major project status comes as the Government announced funding of $420,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for the aquaculture industry in Northern Australia.
Project Sea Dragon will create 10,000ha of black tiger prawn ponds at the site, on the border between Northern Territory and Western Australia, about 130km east of Kununurra and 340km south-west of Darwin.
The project, focussing on sustainable land use, is designed to begin production on a nominal 1000ha of land-based ponds, producing about 12,000 tonnes of prawns a year.
In the longer term, the total project footprint will occur across three main areas: Legune Station, Darwin area, and Kununurra/Wyndham area.
It is expected that the project will produce high-quality, year-round reliable prawn volumes for export markets.
In announcing the renewal of the major project status in March this year, then Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project was expected to generate $3 billion in export revenue.
“Stage 1 of the project is expected to create 1,000 jobs - at full scale this will rise to 1,600 jobs,” she said.
“Ultimately, the project will involve construction of about 10,000 hectares of ponds with the project to span more than 90 years.”
Project Sea Dragon has strong support from local communities and Indigenous stakeholders, who will benefit from the boost in the economy through employment, training and environmental protection.
The project also has financial backing from major Japanese seafood company Nissui, which has a 14.99 per cent stake in Seafarms.
Under the agreement, Nissui will take between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of total annual production from Project Sea Dragon, once operational.