Ravenous Kingfish Hit Port Stephens Marine Park

Ravenous Kingfish Hit Port Stephens Marine Park

There are fears thousands of "ravenous" kingfish that escaped a state government jointly-run fish farm off Port Stephens will devastate the marine park's wild fish population.

Up to 17,000 predatory yellowtail kingfish, used to being fed automatically, are now hunting in the marine park waters after 20,000 escaped last week from a fish-farm sea cage, described as a "fortress pen", that was destroyed in rough seas. About 3000 fish have been recaptured.

The future of the controversial joint NSW government and Tasmania-based Huon Aquaculture project, which is 18 months into a five-year research trial, is under a cloud following the loss of almost half its stock with a retail value of more than $2 million.

Conservation groups and local tourism operators described the multimillion-dollar project as a "disaster" threatening the pristine marine park's delicate ecosystem.

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