Tasmania's buoyant aquaculture heightens boat demand

Myti Max, Rocket and Irony are the latest addition to a burgeoning fleet coming out of St Helens on Tasmania’s East Coast.

The three vessels, all earmarked for the state’s aquaculture, were launched on Wednesday in front of its proud St Helens-based boat builder.

They were part of roughly $4 million investment made by Tassal and Spring Bay Seafoods to Lyndcraft Boats for a fleet of specialist vessels.

Lyndcraft Boats managing director Greg Lynd said the aquaculture was the sustaining force behind the business.

It had already added 16 vessels to Tassal’ fleet in the lead up to the Oakhampton Bay salmon farm expansion.

The three boats, including the larger Spring Bay Seafoods vessels, cost about $2 million, Mr Lynd said.

An additional six small vessels were to be completed for Tassal by the end of the year to be used around the state, he said.

The order was more than half of the year’s work for Lyndcraft Boats.

Employing eight full-time staff, as well as contractors, there had been some ups and downs for his business, but the new contracts meant boat building was looking up, Mr Lynd said

He also aimed to use mainly Tasmanian products to create the boats, including aluminium from Hobart.

Spring Bay Seafoods operating manager Craig Bailey said the new vessel had twice the capacity of the business’ existing vessels of 12 to 15 tonnes of cargo.

It had the added benefit of being able to harvest and seed the mussels, Mr Bailey said.

Spring Bay Seafoods managing director Phil Lamb said the expansion of vessels could also see growth in shellfish harvesting as well as other seafood production.

“This is a big investment for a small business.”

Myti Max was named after one of the business’ directors along with part of the scientific name of the mussel harvested.

Tassal head of corporate engagement Barbara McGregor said the effects of growth in the aquaculture industry, shown by the new vessels launched, flowed onto other parts of regional areas outside of the industry.

For every one job created in aquaculture, another five jobs were created as a result, Ms McGregor said.

Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said it was a proud day for Tasmania’s aquaculture industry.

“A sustainable aquaculture industry is vital for Tasmanian jobs and the economy in our regional areas and Lyndcraft Boats is reaping the benefits, with a recent expansion of their St Helens facility and workforce to deal with additional demand,” Mr Hidding said.

“It’s a great demonstration of how the growth of the aquaculture industry has guaranteed employment for thousands of Tasmanians right across the state.”