Pe­tuna set to test Tas­sal waste tech


PE­TUNA Aqua­cul­ture has an­nounced plans to trial Tas­sal’s waste cap­ture sys­tem on its own Mac­quarie Har­bour pens in a move that has been crit­i­cised by Tas­ma­nia’s other ma­jor sal­mon pro­ducer.

Pe­tuna yes­ter­day an­nounced it is in dis­cus­sions with Tas­sal to trial the tech­nol­ogy on four pens from Jan­uary, sub­ject to ap­proval from the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Author­ity.

Tas­sal was re­quired to de­velop the sys­tem ear­lier this year to mit­i­gate the im­pact of up to 4000 tonnes of sal­mon it is farm­ing above the har­bour­wide 12,000-tonne cap.

How­ever, Pe­tuna said it had no in­ten­tion of farm­ing ad­di­tional fish over the biomass cap.

Pe­tuna act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive David Wood said Pe­tuna was in the final stages of ne­go­ti­at­ing a com­mer­cial ar­range­ment with Tas­sal to trial the sys­tem.

“This is an ex­cit­ing in­dus­try in­no­va­tion, which has so far ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions, prov­ing a vi­tal tool in sup­port­ing sus­tain­able farm­ing in the har­bour into the fu­ture,” Mr Wood said.

Huon Aqua­cul­ture ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Frances Ben­der said waste cap­ture did noth­ing to ad­dress the pri­mary en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cern in Mac- quarie Har­bour — the de­cline in dis­solved oxy­gen lev­els.

Ms Ben­der said waste cap­ture might mit­i­gate the im­pacts of sal­mon waste on the har­bour floor, but should not be seen as a mea­sure to achieve com­pli­ance and jus­tify “un­ac­cept­ably high” lev­els of sal­mon biomass, which could lead to de­pleted oxy­gen.

“It ap­pears that Pe­tuna is look­ing to join Tas­sal in man­ag­ing com­pli­ance with­out look­ing af­ter the en­vi­ron­ment,” Ms Ben­der said.

“Pe­tuna may man­age to in­stall waste cap­ture but, given the cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, it’s like say­ing “the op­er­a­tion was a com­plete suc­cess but the pa­tient still died.”

En­vi­ron­ment Tas­ma­nia strat­egy di­rec­tor Laura Kelly said she was con­cerned that Tas­sal and the EPA had not yet re­leased re­ports or de­tailed data on the im­pact of the waste cap­ture sys­tem.

Ms Kelly said the sys­tem should be re­viewed un­der the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act.

Pe­tuna plans to dis­pose of treated waste­water col­lected from be­neath pens in Devon­port as part of the agree­ment re­cently reached be­tween Tas­sal and TasWater.

The Tas­ma­nian Greens on Mon­day wel­comed Tas­sal’s de­ci­sion not pump the waste wa­ter into the har­bour, as had pre­vi­ously been sug­gested, but said it re­mained con­cerned about the com­pany’s new dis­posal plan.

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