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NT prawn farm plan keeps progressing

Project Sea Dragon will consist of four sites across both WA and the NT. At full production it will produce more than 100,000 tiger prawns yearly.
Project Sea Dragon will consist of four sites across both WA and the NT. At full production it will produce more than 100,000 tiger prawns yearly. Contributed

A COMPANY that plans to build a prawn farm on a remote Northern Territory cattle station has released its Environmental Impact Statement for stage one of the project for public comment.

Stage one of Project Sea Dragon will be built on Legune Station, near the NT and West Australian border in the Kimberley.

It will include 1080 hectares of land-based production ponds, 324 hectares of internal recycling ponds and infrastructure that will eventually produce 14,000 tonnes of prawns per year.

The proponents of the project, the Seafarms Group, said the lodgement of the EIS for stage one came after a comprehensive environmental investigation of Legune Station that "extended well beyond the project footprint”.

Seafarms director Dr Chris Mitchell said he was confident the project could proceed with minimal impact on the environment.

"This is another step towards obtaining the approvals and government permission needed to enable this prawn aquaculture project to go ahead,” Dr Mitchell said.

He said more than 18 scientists and engineers had worked to assess the project, including regular water sampling, flora and fauna surveys, ecological investigations and soil studies.

He said Legune Station was chosen due to its geographic isolation from existing prawn farms, its existing land use and the absence of sensitive reef marine environments.

If the project goes ahead, the initial 1080 hectares of grow out ponds will be expanded almost 10-fold.

The farm will eventually become the world's largest aquaculture development that at full-scale production will produce more than 100,000 tonnes of tiger prawns per year for export.

The two-year production period for stage one at Legune Station is expected to create 444 full-time construction jobs.

At full operation levels, it is estimated 700 people will be employed at Legune Station, 300 at a Darwin-based hatchery and breeding facilities and 500 in Kununurra.

Dr Mitchell said the NT EPA had requested a separate EIS for the project's Bynoe Harbour Broodstock Maturation and Core Breeding Centre site near Darwin.

Public comment on the stage one EIS is open until December 2.

The document is available at www.ntepa.nt.gov.au.


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