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No Fish Farms in Tasmanian East Coast Waters

This petition had 2,434 supporters

No Fish Farms in Tasmania's East Coast Waters

The petition of the undersigned to the Government of Tasmania expresses ‘no confidence’ in the failed regulation and regulatory enforcement of the salmon farming industry in Tasmania; and grave concerns with regard the negative impact on the local marine environment of the proposed open pen industrial salmon farm at Okehampton Bay, East Coast Tasmania.

Environmental degradation in Macquarie Harbour, caused by the salmon industry, has become a public issue. The major salmon farming companies have expressed concern with the current regulation and management of the industry with Supreme Court actions in progress.

The EPA Panel review of Okehampton proposal lacked the opportunity for broad public input and has no perceived independence or transparency.

Tasmania's East Coast, from Marion Bay to the Freycinet Peninsula, is a unique and semi-protected coastal waterway, offering significant local recreational activities and immense tourism potential. The area hosts a huge array of marine flora and fauna, of which some species are under pressure due to a rapidly warming ocean environment. Open pen industrial scale salmon farming will, through the addition of high volumes of nitrogen and phosphates from fish excreta, excess feed etc, add further pressure to that ecosystem.

Salmon farming has a history of creating significant marine debris (plastics, ropes, agricultural pipe and so forth) in waterways. Some debris floats, creating potentially serious hazards to water users and moves with currents over distance, ultimately ending up on beaches and foreshores. Other debris sinks, adding an unseen load to the marine environment. Marine debris will have an impact in Spring Bay and the broader East Coast, including the Maria Island Marine Park some 7 kilometres away. 

The Okehampton Bay proposal by Tassal is for 28 sea pens, to grow out 800,000 Atlantic salmon. The site is in a shallow coastal location and site size appears limited in ability to appropriately separate different year classes of salmon and run an adequate fallowing strategy.

Further, Tassal’s proposed shore base and fresh water access facilities require capital expenditure (supported by the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council) that appears unsupportable by the proposed Okehampton Bay lease alone and will likely require the company to demand access to further open water lease areas along the East Coast - further compromising the marine environment.

Your Petitioners request that the Government place an immediate halt to all planned expansion of open pen industrial salmon farming in Tasmania until the existing environmental and regulatory failures, lack of social licence and industry relationship with Government has been addressed and rectified with transparent and independent regulation with adequate enforcement and penalties.

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