Extension for aquaculture leases to benefit seafood sector

Extension to 20-year lease welcomed

The founder of Angel Seafood has applauded the state government's changes to the Aquaculture Act that include extending the maximum term for production leases to 30 years.

The changes, passed by the state government on September 25, include increasing the maximum term for a production lease from 20 years to 30 in an effort to strengthen the aquaculture sector.

Once the changes come into effect, leaseholders will have the chance to apply for an extension of the terms of their leases to 30 years from the day their lease was granted or renewed.

Angel Seafood founder and chief executive officer Zac Halman said this was a great outcome as it gave leaseholders more time to get a return on their investment and for lenders to assure security on what they had lent against.

He said this would be a big help to the oyster industry, which had been dealing with spat shortages in recent years following the outbreak of pacific oyster mortality syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania in 2016.

"To have extra support from the government on the lending issue to help them get back on their feet is a big help," he said.

"We thank the minister (Tim Whetstone) for making such a change."

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the extension of the aquaculture production leases was a commitment the government made at the last state election.

"The extension to aquaculture lease terms will make aquaculture leases more attractive for financial institutions and provide current lease holders an opportunity to borrow against their leases in an effort to unlock the huge potential that exists within this industry," Mr Whetstone said.

He said as part of the amendments, written notification of intention to cancel a lease must also be provided to anyone formally noted on the public register.

"These new third-party notification arrangements will provide an opportunity for investors to work with lease holders to explore options towards avoiding cancellation," he said.