About 20,000 fish lost from Huon Aquaculture pen off Port Stephens in big seas

FISH FARM: A file photograph of the pens while under construction in Newcastle before they were moored at sea off Port Stephens.
FISH FARM: A file photograph of the pens while under construction in Newcastle before they were moored at sea off Port Stephens.

Huon Aquaculture has begun efforts to recapture an entire pen of yellowtail kingfish lost in last week’s pounding seas off Port Stephens.

“We believe the entire pen was lost, containing 20,000 fish,” a spokeswoman for Huon said.

“As of Monday night 2500 of the fish had been recaptured and those efforts are ongoing.”

Huon, which is part way through its trial with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, released a statement on Friday afternoon that advised the farm on the Marine Aquaculture Research Lease had sustained damage after four days of extreme weather. The fish were under legal catch size and fishers were advised to keep out of the area.

Part of the trial was to measure the response of equipment during severe weather with the farm considered to be in the roughest conditions of any aquaculture operation in Australia.

“We’re using a few means to recapture the including industry-standard barbless fishing methods and attracting the fish into the pen through feeding,” the spokeswoman said.

“An investigation is underway and the findings will be made public once complete.”

This story Recapture efforts in full swing after entire pen of yellowtail kingfish lost first appeared on Port Stephens Examiner.

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