Huon plans early exit of Norfolk Bay
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.