Planning Commission rejection for Tassal's east coast plans

Environment Tasmania welcomes today’s decision by the Tasmanian Planning Commission that it is unable to approve Tassal’s development plans for its controversial Okehampton Bay development, because the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council failed to meet the exhibition requirements of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Regulations 2014.

“The Planning Commission rejection is more evidence of the shonky governance process surrounding Tassal’s controversial east coast plans," said Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania. "Tassal and Council have tried to ram plans through so quickly they haven’t even bothered to comply with the most basic provisions in the land use act." 

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EPA protects Tassal profits: unethical and illegal?

Environment Tasmania is deeply concerned about the EPA’s decision to extend the period Tassal is able to act in breach of the law at its Franklin lease in Macquarie Harbour, where all marine life is dead to 500 metres beyond the lease site. The Director of the state’s peak environment group, Laura Kelly, argues there is no evidence to justify the EPA’s claim that this won’t worsen the environmental crisis in the harbour.

“The EPA are saying extending Tassal's dead zone operation won’t make matters worse, but fail to present any evidence that pumping more feed and faeces in the harbour won’t increase harm to the harbour and endangered Maugean Skate,” said Laura Kelly Environment Tasmania.

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Misleading consumers: Tassal, ASC and WWF

Today peak state environment group, Environment Tasmania, will release a damning report into the faulty auditing process which has allowed Australia’s largest salmon company to falsely market its salmon to consumers as ‘clean and green’.

Click here to read the report.

Tassal’s product has carried the Aquaculture Stewardship Council – or ASC – logo for its salmon from Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania’s west coast, since 2014. Yet government data shows oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour plummeted to worrying levels in 2013 and the latest report by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies shows that all marine life is dead under Tassal's largest lease in Macquarie Harbour. 

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Environment Tasmania backs Huon legal proceedings

Tasmania’s peak environment group today stated its full support for Huon Aquaculture’s legal proceedings in the Federal and Tasmanian Supreme Court.

“The latest report from IMAS scientists shows that all marine life under Tassal’s largest lease in Macquarie Harbour is dead. The government knew this last November, but have allowed Tassal to farm in a dead zone until March this year – that’s 5 months of operating in breach of the law to massive commercial benefit.

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‘Tasmanian Peak Environment Group requests WWF stop taking payments from Tassal’

Tasmania’s peak environment group has written to WWF Australia requesting they stop taking money from Tassal – Australia’s largest farmed salmon producer - after the global environment group ignored water pollution issues to endorse Tasmania’s controversial industrial salmon farming industry in The Australian today. 

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Proposed cuts in Macquarie Harbour salmon stocks dismissed as "window dressing"

Tasmania's second largest salmon producer Huon Aquaculture has condemned a proposed stock reduction for Macquarie Harbour, labelling it "window dressing" and "spin".

The comments were in response to today's draft determination by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), telling salmon producers to reduce stock in the waterway on Tasmania's west coast.

EPA director Wes Ford said that while the current cap for the harbour was 21,500 tonnes, the current stock was about 16,000 tonnes.

He said that was still too much and the cap would be cut to about 14,000 tonnes.

The latest scientific data showed concerning levels of bacteria and low oxygen in the harbour and the inability of the waterway's ecosystem to cope, Mr Ford said.

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Macquarie Harbour salmon farmers may be hit with new rules

We welcome the news that the government has asked salmon companies to clean up their act in Macquarie Harbour. We are disappointed there have been no penalties imposed and no reduction in production limits. After 3 years of damage - do you think the government should do more than politely request that the companies stop breaking the law? 

  

Marine farming licences require the three Tasmanian companies which operate in Macquarie Harbour to undertake regular visual monitoring of the benthic habitat with underwater vehicles mounted with cameras. Picture: SUPPLIED

Macquarie Harbour salmon farmers may be hit with new rules

 

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Cleaning up Tasmanian Salmon

Today Tasmania’s peak environmental group released a damning dossier on the shortcomings of regulation of Australia’s largest fishery sector, the Tasmanian salmon industry.

Environment Tasmania’s investigation into industry regulations, Cleaning up Tasmanian Salmon: How the Tasmanian Government can restore social licence and secure jobs in Tasmania’s salmon industry is being released following a Four Corners probe into the industry and yesterday’s acknowledgment by Tasmania’s Environmental Protection Authority that companies are breaching licence conditions in Macquarie Harbour, where oxygen levels in the water have reached zero in some areas and faeces and bacteria are accumulating on the floor of the harbour.

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Salmon farmers at odds on environmental rules

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One of Australia’s biggest salmon producers wants a major toughening of environmental regulation, but faces criticism for using a 20-year-old planning scheme, written by industry, to guide its own expansion.

Huon Aquaculture has proposed regulatory changes to the Tasmanian government it argues are vital to the rapidly expanding $700 million salmon industry’s survival.

A leading tourism industry figure, Rob Pennicott, has also warned that clearer regulation is vital for state’s two growth industries — tourism and aquaculture — to coexist.

“Salmon farming is a very important economic pillar for Tasmania, but it’s got to be done in a sustainable manner,” he said.

“We can’t keep having expansion after expansion without very good science around the environmental impact. We need clear ­parameters. We need ... new regulations written.”

Environment Tasmania, the state’s peak environmentalist body, is soon to release a damning dossier on salmon industry regulatory shortcomings, along with proposed changes that go beyond Huon’s blueprint.

The Huon proposals include all new fish farms to be located further offshore, to reduce impacts on sensitive coastal waters, with minimum requirements for depth, ocean flushing and sediment type.

Huon wants a mandated minimum distance between different operations, and compulsory use of well-boats to cleanse and transport the fish — to avoid the towing of pens, which risks spreading disease and pollution.

“We are saying to the government: ‘We’ve set the bar, you catch up’,” said Huon co-founder Frances Bender. “It has to be comparable (to world’s best practice) because if it isn’t … they’ll be too many of us, too close together, we’ll get our fish sick, seals will get in … and we just start over again.”

Ms Bender said Huon’s proposals had met with “silence” from the Hodgman government.

Its main competitor, Tassal, is also unsupportive, denying the proposals “represent an industry position”.

Huon faces its own challenges, with concern over the doubling of its Storm Bay lease area, which relies on a 1998 development plan commissioned by a defunct company, Nortas.

“It’s a total stitch up,” said Environment Tasmania strategy director Laura Kelly. “You’ve got industry writing the plans that guide their expansion, licence conditions that enable them to kill everything below the cages, no minimum site depth, no minimum current flow, no minimum water temperature, no mapping of nitrogen budgets for an area.”

 

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