Environment Tasmania today warned that the unfettered salmon boom in Tasmania could lead to a social and environmental bust if planning, monitoring and regulation is not done better.
“The salmon industry is trading off the back of a clean, green environment, when in fact they are factory farming fish and polluting Tasmania’s clean waters,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator with Environment Tasmania.
“Huon Aquaculture may be expanding at a rate of knots but they are not taking the community with them yet. They have just received their second* Environmental Protection Notice from the EPA for pollution at their Lonnavale hatchery on Russell River, and they are proposing a new hatchery close to the drinking-water intake on Huon River.
“Local communities who rely on this environment for their drinking water and livelihoods are crying out for a better system of regional planning and environmental monitoring, yet the companies continue to bulldoze through in pursuit of greater profits.
“If we do not improve the monitoring, planning and regulation of the salmon industry in south-east Tasmania we risk facilitating a boom that results in short-term profits for a few and long-terms impacts on the environment and local communities.
“The government’s process of planning and regulating the salmon industry from hatcheries on our pristine rivers to intensive sea-cages in our much loved waterways, have to be more strategic, rigorous and transparent, if Tasmanians are going to feel confident the farms are in their interests as well.
“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.
“The salmon industry does have a future in Tasmania but it needs to be done smarter and work with nature, not against it. We don’t want to see another primary resource industry that drives conflict into the community and degrades the natural values that form the very basis of our identity and economy, due to poor planning and regulation,” concluded Ms Hubbard.
*This has been edited from third to second: Huon Aquaculture received an EPN in 2007 and another was issued in October 2014 and is in the process of finalisation. It is our understanding from comments by the EPA that these were and are a result of unacceptable levels of algal growth and eutrophication of the downstream waterway.