Ongoing Salmon Expansion Threatens Endangered Whales and Puts Locals Offside

MEDIA RELEASE

Recreational fishers, yachties, conservationists and locals are alarmed that Tassal is persisting with an expansion of their salmon farms in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in south-eastern Tasmania when endangered species, native fish, water quality and public access may all be sacrificed in the process.

“Tassal is pushing through with another fish farm expansion despite the knowledge that it will pollute an area where Critically Endangered Handfish are found and the endangered Southern Right Whale is known to breed. This ongoing expansion of factory farming salmon in the unspoiled southern reaches of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel will degrade water quality, damage the health of critical ecosystems such as reefs and kelp forests, and expose barriers and entanglements to endangered whales,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator with Environment Tasmania.

“Fishers are concerned with salmon farms in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. This area was set aside as a recreational fishing zone many years ago, but the area available is getting smaller as salmon farm leases increase in size. Sediment from these farms is also having a detrimental effect outside the lease areas and we are concerned this is having a big impact on the flathead - Tasmania's most important recreational catch,” said Mike Stevens of Tasmanian Fishing & Boating News.

"Tassal are going to great lengths to downplay the negative impact their proposed expansions would have. We are not alone in insisting that Tassal's operations should not encroach on this relatively untouched, highly valuable and easily accessible shoreline,” said Karen Harvey, landholders of Lady Bay near the proposed expansion.

“South eastern Tasmania is an iconic sailing area but the waterway is getting choked up with salmon farms without fair consideration of other users. We have accepted salmon farming in the region for some time, but enough is enough. We need a better planning process to ensure that the world class values of these beautiful waterways are protected and can be enjoyed by everyone into the future,” said local sailor Joe Blake.

“The salmon industry does have a future in Tasmania but it needs to be done smarter. Right now, there are too many threats to endangered species like whales and handfish, too many recreational fishers and boat owners being pushed out of their backyard, and not enough fairness or transparency in planning and management. There should be a halt on new fish farm expansions and a regional planning review,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

Environment Tasmania, Tasmanian Fishing and Boating News, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Spirit of Bruny, Lady Bay and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have prepared a joint submission to the Government in response to Tassal’s proposal to expand more fish farms at Lippies Point, near Lady Bay, Southport.