Response to Fin Fish Report Welcome, More Needed to Reel in Tassie Salmon Industry

The Australia Institute Tasmania commends the Tasmanian Government for recognising the need to improve salmon farming practices in its response to the Legislative Council Inquiry Report on Finfish Farming in Tasmania.

The long-awaited Legislative Council Fin Fish Farming Inquiry report tabled in Parliament in May, highlighted the many problems faced by the industry. The Inquiry’s top recommendation was for a revised Salmon Industry Growth Plan to be developed as one aspect of an overarching Marine Plan for Tasmania.

However, more work is still needed to protect Tasmanian coastal waters, with wast coast waters warming four times faster than the global average. Tasmania has depleted fish stocks, ignored flow-on effects from this, eutrophication of inshore waters, threatened species and paltry habitat protection. Land-based activities, along with changes to freshwater and sediment flows, are also impacting the health of our marine environment. This all calls for fundamental improvement to our overall ocean management.

Key points:

  • The Tasmanian Government has supported, or supported in principle, the majority of the Inquiry’s recommendations, recognising the need for a major overhaul of the industry.
  • The review of the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995, is welcomed and provides an opportunity to improve the legislative framework in time.
  • However, Government is delaying a move towards a more integrated approach to marine management, despite this being the top recommendation arising from the Inquiry
  • Parliamentary Inquiry’s top recommendation is for a revised Salmon Industry Growth Plan to be developed as one aspect of an overarching Marine Plan for Tasmania.
  • Best available science continues to find concerning impacts of salmon farming on sensitive and sheltered inshore waters. The Legislative Council recommended salmon farms should be removed outright from these waters.

“The science continues to tell us that sensitive, sheltered and biodiverse inshore waters are not appropriate for salmon farming. We commend the Government for recognising that only sustainably operated, best practice sites should continue inshore and look forward to the removal of leases that do not meet these standards,” said Eloise Carr, Director the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“However, the Government is missing an opportunity to align the salmon industry with overall planning and management of Tasmania’s marine environment, as the Parliamentary Inquiry recommended.

“The salmon industry continues to receive special treatment ahead of all the other users of Tasmania’s coastal waters. Meanwhile, our coastal waters are under threat from a range of pressures beyond salmon farming, such as from fishing, climate change, introduced species and pollution.

“The best way to address this would be to concurrently look at all activities and sectors that use our coastal waters and include them in planning and management considerations, this is the top recommendation arising from the Inquiry.

“The salmon industry supports a move to more integrated and coordinated management of ecosystems, so that all activities or sectors that potentially have an impact are included in management considerations. We look forward to working together with the Government to achieve this.”

Media Contact: Eloise Carr 0414 704 709