Response to Government Review of Salmon Farming in Macquarie Harbour


The Australia Institute welcomes confirmation of the review of the 2012 EPBC Act decision that allowed large-scale fish farming in Macquarie Harbour.

This follows two letters from the Australia Institute to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water in June and July that triggered the review.

However, the decision to not pause salmon farming in the region, contrary to direction from the Commonwealth Conservation advice, represents a major setback for the health of the Macquarie Harbour and the endangered Maugean Skate.

‘This review is welcome and necessary. However, it is disappointing that Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is acting inconsistently with her own Department’s advice. The advice identified urgent actions that should be implemented prior to summer 2023 to ensure the species does not go extinct. Eliminating or significantly reducing the impacts of salmon farming on dissolved oxygen concentrations is the top priority and the fastest and simplest way to achieve this is by significantly reducing fish biomass, said Eloise Carr, director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

‘Minister Plibersek previously flagged a temporary halt to fish farming during the reconsideration process. That approach would be consistent with her department’s advice. This approach is not.

‘The Minister is now passing the buck on her responsibilities to Tasmanian regulators to decide. They have the same scientific evidence in front of them and licenses are due for renewal today.”