Tasmanian Aquaculture Regulator Failing – Leaked Salmon Company Emails Expose Problems

Environment Tasmania is calling on the Tasmanian Government to intervene and reduce farmed salmon numbers in Macquarie Harbour as leaked documents highlight impacts on the environment, fish health and salmon companies.

A leaked email from Huon Aquaculture and Petuna Seafoods CEO’s to Premier Will Hodgman and Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff acknowledges:

“We are very concerned about the waterway we rely on…

The reason why the Review was never completed is because the environment conditions in MH were deteriorating at such a rate it was decided to set up the MH DO (Dissolved Oxygen) Working Group to investigate what the problem was…

In the face of clear environmental and fish health warning signs in MH (without even reaching the 52.5% cap), Huon and Petuna have been undertaking a concerted effort to maintain the cap of 52.5%... the consequences of not doing so are potentially severe and wide-ranging…

In closing, we appeal to you as regulator to make a decision that will preserve the health of Macquarie Harbour and our Industry’s reputation”.

‘In 2012 Environment Tasmania and others including a former fish farmer, opposed the 360% increase in salmon farm production in Macquarie Harbour due to concerns about the lack of science to show that this expansion would be sustainable. The Marine Farm Planning Review Panel ignored those warnings and approved the expansion of salmon farms from production of 8,000tonne to 29,500tonne,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator with Environment Tasmania.

“These leaked documents not only demonstrate that the Regulator erred in their approval of the expansion proposal, but is continuing to fail in managing the impacts from this expansion. The documents expose the serious decline in health of the Macquarie Harbour marine environment.

“When the salmon farming companies are writing to the Premier and Primary Industries Minister to protect Macquarie Harbour, you know there is something wrong. The question the public deserves to know is, how bad is it?

“The secrecy around this industry needs to stop. The Tasmanian Government must step in and commit to de-stocking salmon from Macquarie Harbour back to pre-expansion levels, and require that proper science and management is in place to avoid further risking this precious unique environment or the viability of the industries that rely on it,” concluded Ms Hubbard.