Huon plans early exit of Nor­folk Bay

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - EMILY BAKER

SAL­MON farmer Huon Aqua­cul­ture has con­firmed it will leave Nor­folk Bay a month ear­lier than planned as fish­ers and ac­tivists pre­pare for a flotilla protest against fin fish farm­ing in the area.

Huon yes­ter­day said its plan to re­move its quar­an­tined fish from the tem­po­rary Nor­folk Bay pens was not re­lated to the de­mon­stra­tion sched­uled to take place this morn­ing.

“We have been able to exit the area be­fore the per­mit ends be­cause of the suc­cess of our biose­cu­rity mea­sures,” a spokes­woman said.

“The flotilla has not has­tened our exit. Good farm­ing prac­tices are the rea­son.”

South East Ma­rine Pro­tec­tion chair­man Mark Dun­can said to­day’s flotilla — ex­pected to in­clude about 200 boats — was aimed at send­ing a clear mes­sage to fin fish farm­ing com­pa­nies look­ing to ex­pand into Nor­folk Bay.

“Nor­folk Bay is the wrong place for sal­mon farm­ing in any way, shape or form,” Mr Dun­can, owner of fish­ing char­ter com­pany Mr Flat­head, said.

“Get out now Huon Aqua­cul­ture, do not come back Huon Aqua­cul­ture, or any­body else. “You’re not wel­come.” Huon Aqua­cul­ture said it had no plans to per­ma­nently farm fish in Nor­folk Bay and would only har­vest in the area again if there were fur­ther biose­cu­rity con­cerns.

The com­pany moved some sal­mon to pens in the area in Au­gust to pro­tect other fish pop­u­la­tions from the po­ten­tially deadly pilchard or­thomyx­ovirus.

In a full-page Mer­cury ad yes­ter­day the com­pany said it would con­duct its fi­nal on­site har­vest early next week with the re­main­ing empty har­vest pen to be re­moved the week af­ter.

All equip­ment would be re­moved this month, the com­pany said.

Huon ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Frances Ben­der said: “Since early July, there has been no ev­i­dence of POMV in any pop­u­la­tions in the Storm Bay re­gion.

“All pop­u­la­tions have been tested across 10 sep­a­rate lab­o­ra­tory sub­mis­sions and all re­sults have con­firmed neg­a­tive POMV sta­tus.”

Greens en­vi­ron­ment spokes­woman Ros­alie Woodruff said it was clear Huon Aqua­cul­ture was feel­ing com­mu­nity pres­sure over its Nor­folk Bay op­er­a­tions. The flotilla will leave Prim­rose Sands about 11.30am to­day.

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