Fish waste plant `at risk'

APPARENT short-sighted thinking and commercial differences seem to be putting a major East Coast fish processing industry at risk, warns Glamorgan-Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart.

Cr Cadart said yesterday Triabunna had a great chance to regain employment lost through the closure of the town's woodchip mill, but only if people "looked at the big picture".

Fish producer Tassal has said it wants to build a multimillion- dollar fish waste processing plant on land near Triabunna.

Seafish Tasmania has an existing fish waste processing plant on the bay near the former Gunns woodchip mill, but the seafood company has been told by regulators to fix smells and other issues at the plant.

After Cr Cadart last week raised the possibility of the Tassal plant absorbing the Seafish plant, a community petition has been circulated against the suggestion.

The petition says funding under the Tasmanian Forest Intergovernmental Agreement was granted to upgrade the existing plant, not go to a new site.

The petition says the new plant would mean fewer jobs.

But Cr Cadart said while the council had not received a development application for the new plant, nor did he interfere with commercial negotiations, there was a risk of losing everything.

He said if all groups worked together, Triabunna could be the centre for fish waste processing for the whole state in a clean and modern factory.

But if people did not work together and just had a short- term, narrow view, then the project could go somewhere else, with everyone losing their jobs.

He said with the growth in tourism and other industries, Triabunna could be more prosperous than it was at the height of woodchipping, and have a more diverse employment base.

Neither Seafish Tasmania, Tassal nor the petition organisers could be contacted yesterday.

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