Environment Tasmania has renewed calls for a moratorium on industrial salmon farming expansion, following today’s announcement by Fisheries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, that Tassal has been granted a permit to explore expansion of its operations off King Island on Tasmania’s North West.
“No one has been consulted on Minister Rockliff’s proposed industrialisation of King Island - not abalone, cray fishers or small mesh fishers, not tourism operators, traditional owners or conservationists,” says Daniel Patman, Marine Coordinator at Environment Tasmania.
“King Island is a jewel in the crown of Brand Tasmania. Top restaurants in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Spain and London have sought out King Island's produce. If Minister Rockliff opens the door to industrialisation of the island while Tasmania’s shonky, decades-old salmon farming regulations remain in place, he is putting this valuable reputation at risk,” Mr Patman says.
King Island also has extensive conservation values, from endangered migratory whales to shorebirds like the Curlew Sandpiper, which feeds on King Island each year before making the long flight back to Siberia to breed.
“Wetlands on the east coast of King Island provide an internationally renowned sanctuary for migratory birds,” Mr Patman says. “It is arrogant and incompetent for government to explore industrialisation of the island without so much as consulting conservation groups. Such a parochial approach to governance does nothing to advance Brand Tasmania or our reputation on the international stage."
"The waters of King Island also contain a major haul out site for fur seals. Given Tassal's poor record on seal relocations, Minister Rockliff needs to assure the community that this expansion won't lead to more seal dumping and deaths."