Bluff salmon farm upgrades fleet
Sanford Bluff is upgrading its Stewart Island salmon farm marine fleet with two custom-built boats.
Two F18 hardtop boats built specially by Invercargill boat building business Frewza Boats will replace some of the existing fleet of five smaller vessels used in the salmon farm operations.
Sanford engineer Doug Soper, who skippers the boats, said the new vessels would be a much needed addition to the existing fleet. The conditions down at the farm could get rough and they needed boats that could withstand the elements, he said.
Southland boat builders could be in for a busy time if proposed aquaculture expansion goes ahead in the region.
In May, Environment Southland announced they had undertaken a research project scoping out areas of the Southland coast, including Stewart Island, that would be suitable for aquaculture expansion.
This was in response to the government's plan to turn aquaculture into a billion-dollar industry.
Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said the flow-on effects for Southland's economy brought on by aquaculture expansion would be significant.
If greater space were allocated in established areas not only would there be a flow-on for boat building businesses but also more opportunities for marine servicing businesses, he said.
Southland was recognised nationally and internationally as builders of high quality vessels, he said.
Frewza Boats owner Brendon Frew said while winter was generally a quieter time for the business, the Sanford job had kept them busy. When they started out about nine years ago they did not do a lot of these types of projects, but it appeared to be a natural direction the business was heading in, he said.
The two 18-foot vessels took about two months to complete and will be in the water by next week.
The Southland Times