Kingfish coming back with a bite

TOP FISHING: Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey (left) and Clean Seas Seafood CEO David Head.
TOP FISHING: Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey (left) and Clean Seas Seafood CEO David Head.

Clean Seas are on the verge of bringing the kingfish industry back to Whyalla with fish set to be positioned on their aquaculture leases within months.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, who inspected the progress of the juvenile fish and the newly constructed pens at Arno Bay on Friday, said the return of the industry would be a 'terrific outcome' for Whyalla.

Clean Seas received $2.5m last year from the Federal Government's $20m Regional Jobs and Investment Package, which is designed to lift job numbers in areas of high unemployment in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The Australian producer is investing an additional $17.5 million into the project, which Mr Ramsey says is a high value return for the taxpayer.

"The pens with the fish in them, currently in Arno Bay, will be towed to Whyalla in September and the farm alone is expected to employ 30 people with others finding jobs in transport and logistics," he said.

Clean Seas Managing Director David Head said the Federal investment was a catalyst to get the project off the ground.

"We are very appreciative of the support and thank Rowan Ramsey for his efforts. This is a major expansion for Clean Seas enabling us to lift production past 4,000 tonne a year," he said.

"We have spent $2m promoting our product overseas in the top restaurants in Europe and our label, Spencer Gulf Hiramasa Kingfish, is gaining real attention and our sales have been growing at 23% per annum.

Clean Seas expect to begin harvesting fish from Whyalla in about May next year. "

Mr Ramsey said the return of the kingfish industry to Whyalla's highly suitable waters was another tick for a community which is regaining its confidence.

"It is almost ten years since a problem with the feed supply saw the industry almost collapse, but the problems are now fixed and I expect the operation to flourish," he said.

"The farms will generate strong employment and are exactly the type of jobs we need in Whyalla. Jobs which help diversify the economy."