A Tasmanian seafood giant has collapsed amid a “significant falling out” between the company’s founders and a mainland investor who recently took control of the firm.

Huonville-based Huon Valley Seafoods, a vertically integrated company involved in the sourcing, processing, packaging, distribution, wholesaling and export of a variety of seafoods – including scallops, abalone, sea urchin, oysters, squid and salmon – entered liquidation on July 24, ASIC records show.

Louisa Sijabat from Merchants Advisory in Sydney has been appointed as the liquidator.

Ms Sijabat told the Mercury creditor claims so far totalled about $3m, noting that the amounts were yet to be assessed and thus highly contingent.

She said that the collapse occurred in the context of an ongoing dispute between the company’s founders, local duo Ambrose Coad and Stephen Oates, respectively the former chief executive and chief operating officers, and a Melbourne-based investor that first came aboard in late 2021.

“Over the last couple of years the company had been in the process of being sold to some investors in Melbourne and there appears to have been a significant falling out between the former directors of the company, who are based in Huonville, and the new directors in Melbourne,” Ms Sijabat told the newspaper.

“As far as I understand it, operations have declined in the last couple years.”

Since the appointment of Ms Sijabat in July, Mr Coad and Mr Oates returned temporarily to run Huon Valley Seafoods at a reduced capacity in order to offer the business for sale.

“I’m here right now doing scallops. What good work we can do, we’re doing,” Mr Coad told the Mercury.

“We still own the property, so we’re trying to get out of it what we can. I’m not the laid-back retired guy I should’ve been.”

Mr Coad said he was unable to share details of the falling out.

“I’m still not in a position to say anything,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is.”

The seafood company’s website has been deleted since the shock collapse, 7 News reports.

Customers have left many positive reviews of the business and shared their heartbreak over the news.

“Very sad now the company is in liquidation. The seafood was amazing and fresh,” one person said.

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By Rahul

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