The weekend media about the Storm Bay science (Mercury 9.7.23) appears to suggest that the science will come first, expansions second and that the government is in 'no rush' to put salmon into the controversial Storm Bay leases. The truth about Storm Bay is somewhat different.
"The weekend's media announcement that the Storm Bay science will precede any salmon farm expansions has left me scratching my head." says Rebecca Howarth, Marine Campaigner for Environment Tasmania. "There's already salmon in there. And a lot! It's misleading to pretend otherwise."
"While I applaud and absolutely support good, sound science being carried out, the more-than-1000 hectares of salmon leases in Storm Bay were already approved by the Tasmanian government way back in 2019. In fact, Huon Aquaculture has stocked its Storm Bay leases so thoroughly to the east of Bruny Island that more than half of Storm Bay's current biomass limit is already stocked. That's a lot of fish already in Storm Bay. The truth is, this science didn't come first; the lease approvals and the salmon did. This latest media spin seems to be an attempt by the government to pretend it didn't put the cart before the horse "
"This lack of science around the time of the leases being approved for the controversial Storm Bay farms is one of the reasons cited by Professor Barbara Nowak and Louise Cherrie for quitting the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel. In a letter to then Primary Industries minister Guy Barnett they cited concerns that the lack of "detailed biogeochemical model upon which to determine carrying capacity and nutrient transfer [between Storm Bay and] the lower Derwent Estuary" and "the natural values of Storm Bay were not mapped and considered, including the amenity owed to communities".
"Clearly the Tasmanian government is playing catch up with the science in Storm Bay, and this demonstrates the flaws that exist in our current marine planning process. Tasmania desperately needs a marine plan to ensure that no marine farming leases are granted until comprehensive marine spatial planning has occurred and protection of marine natural and cultural values are prioritised."