Community and Conservation Concerns Over Salmon Farms Rising

Environment Tasmania have today called for a thorough upgrade of the monitoring, planning and management systems regulating salmon farms in Tasmania after a new report shows that scientific monitoring of the salmon farms is inadequate and a regional planning review is in need.

“Right now, salmon farming is the ocean equivalent of overcrowded caged chicken farms. They are polluting Tasmania’s clean waters, damaging the health of the marine environment,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator with Environment Tasmania.

Lady Bay landowner Ms Karen Harvey is concerned about the impacts on locals and tourism businesses. “As Tassal continues to expand their profits, Tasmanians and visitors to Tasmania are increasingly robbed of this stunning coastline. This expansion is happening without many Tasmanians even realising.

“The damaging, polluting impacts of salmon farms have spread well beyond the shore, with noise, pollution and debris impacting on coastal communities and other industries such as fishers.

“We know that at least 144 protected seals have died as a result of fish farming since 2009. We know that farmed salmon is not naturally pink, but dyed to be the classic salmon colour that most Australians would think is natural.

“However what this new report demonstrates is that we do not know just how big the pollution impacts of salmon farms are on other important ecosystems such as reefs and kelp forests, and species such as abalone and rock lobster. These are not being monitored, and what monitoring is done is not available to the public,” said Ms Hubbard.

Lady Bay landowner Ms Karen Harvey is concerned about the impacts on locals and tourism businesses. “As Tassal continues to expand their profits, Tasmanians and visitors to Tasmania are increasingly robbed of this stunning coastline. This expansion is happening without many Tasmanians even realising.

“We’re concerned about the impacts on our environment from noise, lights and rope debris, and impacts on the fishing industry and local swimming, kayaking, boating and surfing. We are greatly concerned that the proposed farms would have a devastating impact on the growing ecotourism businesses in south-east Tasmania.

“We’re running out of accessible untouched coastline – people move here and tourists visit to get away from it all. But how far do we have to go?” concluded Ms Harvey.

Marine Coordinator Rebecca Hubbard asks, “What coastal communities need right now is a greater say in the monitoring, planning and management of salmon farms. The government’s process of considering applications for salmon farms has to be more transparent if Tasmanians are going to feel confident the farms are in their interests as well.

“Salmon farming does have a future in Tasmania, but it has to be done smarter, so that the industry works with the natural environment, not against it.

“If the industry is really committed to transparency and sustainability, then they should have no problem investing in a thorough, independently audited, monitoring program that looks at key community values,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

The report can be downloaded from www.et.org.au/fish_farms