DIVING experts are hoping to convince the state government that an artificial reef, made from a sunken Australian Navy ship, could become a state tourism asset.
The Skeleton Bay Artificial Reef group wants HMAS Tobruk to be decommissioned in 2015, to be scuttled in an area within Binalong Bay.
A study into the scuttled HMAS Brisbane, which the group tried to obtain several years ago but which was claimed by Queensland and sunk to form an artificial diving reef in 2005, found that the reef generated up to $18million profit to the local economy.
Skeleton Bay Artificial Reef leader Peter Paulsen said the group had previously failed to gain state support for the dive project, which it needed in order to secure a decommissioned navy ship from the federal government.
Mr Paulsen said the group was trying to obtain funds for a feasibility study into the project.
"Tasmania now remains the only state in Australia that does not have a significant diving wreck or artificial reef, and while we may be the last one to get one, there is no reason why it can't be the best," Mr Paulsen said.
"We are hoping that, given the success of these ventures throughout Australia, that all tiers of government would be embracing this idea.
"The feasibility study will give us the finer details to support the project."
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said diving tourism was a niche, high-yielding market.
"If you can provide a really high quality experience, that is year-round, accessible, and where everything is basically laid out for the market ... there is no reason why we can't be the cold temperate diving capital of Australia," Mr Martin said.
A feasibility study by the New South Wales government for the ex HMAS Adelaide Artificial Reef Project, which was scuttled in 2011, found that there could be:
5000 divers a year.
$4.5million in economic expenditure by divers a year.
$18million over four years.
$181,000 in permit revenue over four years.
About 90per cent of divers will come from outside of the region, and;
About $870 will be spent in the region for each tourist diver.