Reduce Inshore Salmon Farming to Protect Tassie Coast: Research

Public opinion backs science, as Government continues to side with salmon industry

New research reveals an overwhelming number of Tasmanians want reduced inshore salmon farming consistent with recommendations from a recent Parliamentary inquiry, amid high levels of concern for the health of Tassie’s coastal environment.

The public opinion research reinforces the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into fin-fish farming. The Government has so far resisted supporting recommendations to reduce inshore salmon farming.

Experts say the Government should listen to public opinion and scientific evidence by committing to the recommendations in full.

Key Points:

  • 3 in 4 (76%) Tasmanians are concerned about the health of Tasmania’s coastal environment
  • More than 7 in 10 (72.1%) Tasmanians support the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendation to reduce inshore salmon farming sites, with priority given to ceasing operations in sensitive, sheltered, and biodiverse areas.
  • 1 out of 2 Tasmanians (49.8%) are not confident that State Government’s law reforms will do enough to protect the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters.
  • Over 80% support one or more key management actions to strengthen protection of marine life including:
    • 19% supporting reducing catch limits
    • 22.3% supporting protecting fish nurseries
    • 10.1% supporting an immediate ban on recreational gill netting
    • 30.2% supporting all the above actions
    • Only 5.6% did not support any of these management actions being taken
  • Two Party Preferred Liberal 47% Labor 53%

“This research shows that when it comes to protecting Tasmania’s coast we have public opinion and scientific evidence on one side, and the vested interests of the salmon industry on the other. We’re hopeful the Government does the right thing by implementing all recommendations from the Parliamentary inquiry”, said Eloise Carr, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“Three in four Tasmanians are concerned with the health of our coastal environment and seven in 10 back a reduction in inshore salmon farming.

“The message from this research is clear: Tasmanians want the Government to listen to the evidence and support recommendation 3 from the Parliamentary Inquiry to reduce industrial salmon farming so close to our coast and ocean communities.

“Tasmanians want to protect their marine life, but they appear to have lost faith in this government to undertake meaningful reform to protect the environment. Almost half (49.8%) are not confident that State Government’s law reforms will do enough to protect the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters. This is despite most people being unaware just how bad the situation is with some of Tasmania’s most popular fish stocks.

“Recent research by IMAS and other scientists found that more than 500 common species of fish, seaweed, coral and invertebrate marine life have declined around Australia in the past decade. Of particular concern to Tasmanians is that these declines are most marked in the rocky kelp-dominated reefs in cooler southern waters, including around Tasmania.”

On Thursday 13 of April the Australia Institute Tasmania is hosting world renown experts, Dr Rob Stephenson and Prof Graham Edgar to discuss what the Tasmanian Government can do to protect Tasmania’s unique and globally significant coastal waters.

Polling was undertaken on 4-5 April 2023, with 816 Tasmanians surveyed. Polling brief is attached.

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