Salmon plan flagged for King Is­land

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

TAS­MA­NIA’S big­gest salmon pro­ducer is ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial of farm farm­ing off King Is­land and Mayor Dun­can McFie is both ex­cited and anx­ious about what it might mean for the com­mu­nity.

Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Jeremy Rock­liff an­nounced this week Tas­sal had ob­tained a per­mit to in­ves­ti­gate salmon farm­ing in a 124km2 area off Nine Mile Beach on the is­land’s east coast, ex­tend­ing 5.5km off­shore.

En­vi­ron­ment Tas­ma­nia and the Tas­ma­nian Greens raised con­cerns the is­land’s fish­ing com­mu­nity, tourism op­er­a­tors and tra­di­tional own­ers had not been con­sulted about the pro­posal.

They said the pro­posal could put the King Is­land brand at risk.

King Is­land Mayor Dun­can McFie said the coun­cil had been talk­ing to Tas­sal about the idea for three months.

Cr McFie said he had also wanted com­mer­cial and recre­ational fish­ers to be con­sulted be­fore any an­nounce­ment was made be­cause of the de­bate around the in­dus­try.

“That be­ing said, my ini­tial thoughts are that the po­ten­tial for fish farm­ing off the is­land is ex­cit­ing. But of course we need to ex­plore as­pects of the pro­posal,” Cr McFie said.

“I am aware of the de­bate over fish farm­ing but I, like many oth­ers, am not a marine sci­en­tist. That is the data we need to an­a­lyse be­fore any­thing goes ahead.”

Cr McFie said fish farm­ing in Bass Strait should mit­i­gate some of the en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues seen in Mac­quarie Har­bour on the West Coast, where Tas­sal has been or­dered to fal­low some of its grow­ing pens.

Cr McFie said there would be plenty of con­sul­ta­tion be­fore a con­crete pro­posal would be pre­sented.

The State Gov­ern­ment first said the state’s far North-West and King Is­land were in the mix for fish farm ex­pan­sion in Au­gust.

Mr Rock­liff said Tas­sal’s in­ter­est was good news for the is­land in terms of in­fra­struc­ture and jobs.

“King Is­land is cur­rently mov­ing ahead with strong growth par­tic­u­larly in its tourism sec­tor, and this po­ten­tial new in­dus­try of­fers a ma­jor boost to the econ­omy by pro­vid­ing full-time, year-round work,” Mr Rock­liff said.

“If salmon farm­ing does ul­ti­mately take place off King Is­land, res­i­dents can be as­sured that the is­land’s pre­cious brand will be pro­tected.”

La­bor also wel­comed news.

“I look for­ward to the re­sults of what needs to be ro­bust en­vi­ron­men­tal mod­el­ling to see if farm­ing salmon in the area iden­ti­fied is both vi­able and sus­tain­able,” Brad­don MP and pri­mary in­dus­tries spokesman Shane Broad said.

Dr Broad raised the short­age of rental ac­com­mo­da­tion on King Is­land. How­ever, Cr McFie said Tas­sal was aware of the is­sue.

Greens’ marine en­vi­ron­ment spokeswoman Ros­alie Woodruff la­belled Mr Rock­liff’s an­nounce­ment a “des­per­ate at­tempt to cre­ate fic­tional jobs in his home elec­torate of Brad­don.”

“In his hasty cel­e­bra­tion, Min­is­ter Rock­liff’s failed – again – to talk to the lo­cal com­mu­nity about the im­pacts it will have on their lives, liveli­hoods and en­vi­ron­ment,” Ms Woodruff said. the

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