Chamber of Commerce president Bernard Atkins said rumours had been floating around Stanley in Tasmania about the future of the port.
On Friday, the state-owned company responsible for eleven Tasmanian ports, TasPorts downplayed rumours it is planning to sell one of its ports to Australian salmon farmer Petuna, but has not ruled out the possibility of a future agreement.
Currently, the majority of Petuna’s fish are grown in Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania, where biomass limits are being reduced, so the company is thought to be on the look out for new sites.
Meanwhile, Stanley port is underutilised and ripe for the sort of investment a company like Petuna could bring.
The rumours follow a 12-month agreement, signed in 2018, between TasPorts and Petuna, which allowed the two bodies to jointly assess the port for its suitability to become a land base for future salmon farming in nearby waters.
The agreement expired in 2019, and TasPorts Chief Operating Officer Stephen Casey said they had remained open to further discussions with Petuna, but had made no agreements.
According to Australian outlet, The Advocate, Stanley Chamber of Commerce president and recreational fisherman Bernard Atkins said rumours had been floating around Stanley about the future of the deep sea port.
He said many users were concerned it was going to be sold or leased to major salmon farming company Petuna.
“If one company buys it, it will become a monopoly,” he warned.
Millions of dollars
“TasPorts continues to seek commercial opportunities that enable increased throughput and subsequent investment in infrastructure at the Port of Stanley, including ensuring fit-for-purpose infrastructure for the current freight task” he said.
Atkins said the port was important for both recreational fishers and the large seafood industry in Stanley, and called on TasPorts to keep the community informed on its plans.
“There’s millions of dollars that come in here through the port from the commercial fishermen, and I think everybody has a right to know what’s going to happen to it,” he said.
TasPorts Chief Operating Officer Stephen Casey said TasPorts would, in the meantime, continue upgrading the port’s facilities.