Salmon Inquiry Report: Comprehensive Marine Plan Now

The long-awaited Legislative Council Fin Fish Farming in Tasmania Inquiry report tabled in Parliament today, highlights the many problems faced by the industry.

The Australia Institute Tasmania commends the Committee’s call for an overarching Marine Plan for Tasmania through a comprehensive stakeholder consultation, informed by assessment of environmental, social and recreational values, with a transparent evidence base.

The Institute further commends the Committee’s call for an independent examination of fee and levy structures for fin fish farming, calling for appropriate returns to the Tasmanian community for use of their coastal waters.

Key points:

  • A revised Salmon Industry Growth Plan to be developed as one aspect of an overarching Marine Plan for Tasmania.
  • Processes that engage and accept input from the community, build relationships with stakeholders and transparently apply science and evidence.
  • A reduction in inshore fin fish farming and stopping operations altogether in sensitive, sheltered and biodiverse areas.
  • No further expansion of the fin fish farming industry in the form of new farming areas or increased stocking limits until the revised Salmon Industry Growth Plan is finalised.
  • To ensure appropriate returns to the Tasmanian community, commission an independent review of fee and levy structures for fin fish farming, including:
    • lease value and its reassessment over time;
    • setting of lease fees;
    • rates of levies required to fully fund regulatory monitoring, compliance and
    • enforcement activities; and
    • local government rates, as relevant to the industry.

“This report ought to serve as a how-to guide on the way Tasmania needs to manage the salmon industry,” said Eloise Carr, Director the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“It is clear a comprehensive marine plan is necessary for the healthy management of Tasmania’s oceans, rather than the siloed approach taken to managing this industry to date.

“This report reflects the many concerns raised through this fish farm inquiry. Now it is up to the Tasmanian Government to implement these recommendations.

“Tasmanians have a longstanding connection to our oceans. The approach being proposed in this report incorporates multiple ocean uses and users, who have been ignored by the salmon industry to date.

“Australia Institute research shows overwhelming community concern for the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters. It is clear Tasmania’s current ocean management practices are failing to protect the environment, our island culture, and the ocean economy for the long-term.

“Tasmania’s coastal waters are globally significant, but are suffering from wide ranging pressure from climate change, fishing, and pollution, including from fish farms.

“The conclusion to be drawn from this report is that the fast tracking of the salmon industry needs to end. Short-term thinking and vested interests are wrecking our waterways, and it is all Tasmanians who are paying the price.

“Tasmanian salmon companies have gone through a period of growth that has not led to commensurate growth in returns to the State Government or the community. Meanwhile communities bear the environmental costs of the industry.”

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