The world’s only land-based Tropical Rock Lobster farm is set to be established in North Queensland, bringing a jobs bonanza to the region.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Australian aquaculture company Ornatas is planning to commercially grow and harvest the highly sought-after crustacean.
“Until now, these lobsters have only been able to be caught in the wild,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“But cutting-edge science has allowed the development of technology for production on this site.
“This puts North Queensland in prime position to create a $500 million tropical rock lobster industry within the next ten years and more importantly hire up to 1,000 people in the region.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the development was another sign of the strength of Queensland’s aquaculture industry.
“My goal is to make Queensland the aquaculture capital of the world, because that will create even more jobs in our regions,” Mr Furner said.
“And now being home to the world’s first sustainable Tropical Rock Lobster land-based growout facility shows we’re well on our way to meeting this commitment.
“Over half the seafood we eat in Queensland is imported and I want to change that.
“Having a strong aquaculture sector and a sustainable commercial fishing industry will mean more fresh, tasty Queensland seafood on tables around Australia and across the world.”
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said this development shows the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to creating jobs in regional Queensland.
“We work with companies like Ornatas to make these investments possible and get on the front foot to facilitate strong, sustainable industries that mean jobs for Queenslanders,” he said
“Lobster is one of the most popular and treasured seafoods of all, especially in Asia.
“This facility and the jobs it provides will help meet this growing demand and take pressure of wild populations of lobster.”
Ornatas CEO Scott Parkinson says the facility at Toomulla Beach will initially be used to produce Queensland’s iconic Moreton Bay Bugs.
“The plan is to produce about 150-tonnes of this delicacy over the next five years to sell to local restaurants and retailers,” Mr Parkinson said.
“At the same time, we’re working with a number of partners to design a pilot commercial hatchery in Tasmania, where Tropical Rock lobsters will be bred.
“The baby lobsters will then be transported to the site here at Toomulla Beach to grow to a marketable size, before they’re then harvested and sold to premium seafood markets in Australia and Asia.
“An initiative like this can only happen with the support of partners like the Queensland government.”