Tasmania’s peak environment group today expressed serious concerns regarding the Commonwealth Government’s decision to allocate Tassal an EPBC permit for the company’s controversial plan to industrialise endangered whale calving habitat on Tasmania’s east coast.
“This decision shows that our environment laws are broken. Any Tasmanian that wants their children to grow up in a world where there are whales should be dismayed by this decision, which shows the Liberal Government has learnt nothing from the disaster and subsequent legal battles over Macquarie Harbour,” says Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania.
“Industrial salmon farming has pushed an endangered species to the brink of extinction in Macquarie Harbour, and now the Commonwealth Government is rubber stamping that same threat in endangered whale calving habitat on Tasmania’s east coast.”
“IMAS scientists are calling Macquarie Harbour’s Maugean Skate, a hundred-million year old species found only in Tasmania, the ‘thylacine of the sea’. Now Tassal are getting a tick from the Turnbull Government to do the same in a Bay which Tassal’s own EPBC application acknowledges is calving habitat for endangered Southern Right Whales.”
“Just last week one of Australia’s leading experts on Southern Right Whales, Professor Ross Harcourt from Macquarie University, stated that Okehampton Bay is ideal calving habitat for the endangered species and that fish farming expansion is a threat to the endangered whales."
“It is unclear how Tassal and the Commonwealth could have ignored this advice, and ignored the Commonwealth Government’s own Management Plan for the species. We will be reviewing their decision closely, with the assistance of our lawyers,” Ms Kelly says.
A juvenile humpback caught in aquaculture debris in BC last year. Aquaculture and entanglement in marine debris, are listed as clear threats to endangered Southern Right Whale in the Commonwealth Conservation Management Plan for the species.