Bid to halt fish farms scuppered
THE State Government has moved quickly to rule out a moratorium on fish farms as community protests over Tassal’s plans in Okehampton Bay continue.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said yesterday she would move for a moratorium on fish farm expansion in a bid to ensure the industry’s rapid growth “doesn’t further degrade the marine environment”.
“A moratorium on fish farm expansion makes sense on every level — it would allow the community to have a say, and be heard, and it would move the industry faster towards genuine world’s best practice,” Ms O’Connor said.
However, Primary Industries and Water Minister Jeremy Rockliff quickly ruled out the move.
“The Government will not be moving to place a moratorium on fish farms — to do so would cost jobs,” Mr Rockliff said.
“Instead, we have released a sustainable salmon growth plan for public feedback and we have moved to prevent further fish farm expansion on the east coast of Tasmania.
“The Okehampton fish farm is a pre-existing lease and will operate at the highest possible environmental standards.”
Deputy Opposition Leader Michelle O’Byrne said with strong, independent monitoring, the expansion of the salmon industry could be done sustainably.
Another community protest at Okehampton Bay yesterday saw about 50 vessels join in a flotilla protest against the salmon giant’s new farm.
Organised by anti-East Coast fish farming group Marine Protection Tasmania, OkeFloat attracted protesters from across the statestate.
Organiser Wilhelmina Rea said participants were “shocked” by the scale of the infrastructure already in place for the new farm.
Sea Shepherd Australia also came out in support of the protest and raised concerns about any potential impact on southern right whales in the area.
A Tassal spokesman said the company respected people’s right to “peacefully voice their opinions. Oke-
hampton Bay has been through a comprehensive environmental approvals process from a local, state and national independent governance perspective”, he said.
“Our priority is to maintain compliance with stringent environmental protocols.”
Today Environment Tasmania will join a number of community and tourism groups in the Tasmanian Planning Commission to challenge Tassal’s Okehampton Bay move.