An agreement between the Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments to examine the feasibility of offshore aquaculture in federal waters has been signed.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments was finalised at the Australian Maritime College on Monday.
It will assess environmental and economic issues as well as the feasibility of expanding into federal waters around Tasmania over the next 12 months.
Forestry and Fisheries Assistant Minister Jonno Duniam said the work would be undertaken by the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, but could not provide a timeframe for its completion.
The state government confirmed the MOU operating costs would be borne by the CRC, an independent not-for-profit company funded in 2019 with $70 million from the Commonwealth government.
Senator Duniam said the MOU was the first instance he was aware of which would see fish farming pens deployed into Commonwealth waters.
"In order for this to be successful, for it to be sustainable, environmentally friendly and a good commercial proposition for those businesses that seek to grow, to employ people, we've got to make sure we get it right," he said.
"Hopefully that won't take a huge amount of time, but we've got to get the science right and let the experts do their work so we do get it right.
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CRC chief executive Dr John Whittington said despite the challenges presented by the rough waters around the island, preliminary data had been promising.
"Early indications on the work we've been doing over the last 12 months suggests that Bass Strait has really great potential for not only agriculture but offshore renewables," he said.
"First thing we have to do is understand the wave climate out there and the temperatures. So we've had buoys out in Bass Strait looking at things like waves and temperature and we're going to build on that research now."
Dr Whittington confirmed the data was being collected by buoys placed 10 to 20 nautical miles offshore in Commonwealth waters, 50 to 70 metres deep.
He said the research phase would also determine if fish pens deployed in the deep ocean could withstand the rough environment, with researchers utilising scale models and wave pools at the AMC to determine their viability.
"Our modelling is showing that it's actually a really good place for aquaculture, it does require the right species, the right engineering and getting it right," he said.
Dr Whittington said the parameters of the trials had been informed by their industry partners and would focus on different species of seaweed and salmon.
State Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said Tasmania was an ideal state to develop aquaculture knowledge and equipment, given it was home to Australia's largest aquaculture sector.
"In 2020, Tasmanian aquaculture gross value of production increased by over seven per cent to $931 million," he said.
Senator Duniam said with the aquaculture industry in Tasmania worth $1.6 billion and employing more than 5000 people the government was looking for ways to expand production.
He said if the MOU with the state government was successful it would unlock 8.2 million square kilometres of Commonwealth water that could be for aquaculture.
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