Tasmania is home to Australia’s biggest aquaculture industry. Aquaculture is happening all over Australia yet there is no comprehensive plan for how this rapid development of our seas will impact on our biodiversity and our communities.
All the major players in Australian politics want an expansion of this industry in our seas and the Tasmanian government wants the salmon industry to double by 2030, with new sites for farms in the north of the State and a doubling of the volume of fish in the farms in Storm Bay. The government regulation of the industry is opaque at best. Meanwhile there are continuing issues with debris from the farms, dead zones created in Macquarie Harbour and a growing number of recreational and commercial fisherman raising the alarm about the health of the juvenile fisheries.
You can read about some of the problems with this industry in an op-ed by TLP co-founder Anna Bateman here
Our Tasmanian senate candidate Leanne Minshull has researched the economics of the industry for the past 5 years. You can find her reports here at the Australia Institute
In Tasmania, right now, this issue is dividing communities and destroying marine ecosystems.
Aquaculture in Tasmania employs about 1400 people, and every one of these jobs is important. However, if the industry continues it’s unsustainable practices there won’t be any jobs at all.
The Local Network is committed to creating a space where community, industry and scientists can come together and agree on a plan for our waterways. We are calling on the Tasmanian government to hold a Citizen Jury to determine the future of our coastal waterways.
After increasing community pressure the Tasmanian government has released a ten point plan – you can read that here
The Local Network is proposing a five-point plan:
- A date is agreed by community representatives, Industry, Government and Unions for the retirement of Salmon farms in Storm Bay, the Channel, Okehampton Bay and the Tasman Peninsula
- All remaining farms immediately lower their stocking density to no more than 10kg per cubic meter and monitor transparently and in real time the impact on the marine environment.
- Industry to create a fund to a) support salmon workers impacted by farm closures and b) fund debris clean up.
- Government to rule out any industry expansion into new areas.
- Industry and Government funded research to determine the best on-land (RAS)* models that create product in line with Tasmania’s food brand, i.e. high quality low volume.
*Recirculated Aquaculture systems.