Yellowtail kingfish. (Photo: DPI)
Clean Seas Tuna lays off half of staff
Thursday, September 13, 2012, 02:00 (GMT + 9)
Port Lincoln-based Clean Seas Tuna is letting go of half of its workforce and selling surplus boats in an attempt to restructure the company as it copes with its sick yellowtail kingfish stock.
Clean Seas Tuna’s staff will be reduced to about 50 once all the redundancies have taken place, Clean Seas Chief Executive Craig Foster said.
"It is never easy and it is not something that we like doing," Foster said. "But the job is to restructure the company, so that it will go on and at least some people can have continuing employment."
He said most of the employees made redundant have already managed to find new jobs, AAP reports.
Futhermore, Clean Seas is getting rid of some of its boats to deal with less abundant fish stocks.
"Clean Seas Tuna at its peak was farming about 4,000 tonnes of kingfish a year," Foster explained. "We are currently at about 1,000 tonnes per annum and that just meant we had more boats and more gear than we needed."
For 2011-12, Clean Seas Tuna booked a full year loss for the second consecutive year, this time including a AUD 17.7 million (USD 18.4 million) writedown after its yellowtail kingfish stocks became sick.
The company expects its yellowtail stock’s health to improve in about four to six weeks, as their feed composition has been changed. Foster said that the mortality rate has been rapidly dropping over the last two months.
As far as its southern bluefin tuna propagation, the company says it is also looking favourable: on target for an early spawning, with broodstock showing positive courting behaviour, ABC News reports.
Clean Seas is currently seeking a core investor and was being advised by financial services firm BBY. Foster said there are already some potential investors and the firm hopes to be done searching by the end of the year.
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