Tas­sal in new tus­sle with Huon

Fish Farmer - - World News -

TAS­MA­NIA’S En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Author­ity (EPA) has blocked salmon gi­ant Tas­sal’s plan to dredge the seabed un­der its farms in Mac­quarie Har­bour.

Ri­val pro­ducer Huon Aqua­cul­ture sought an in­junc­tion to stop the dredg­ing, say­ing it had ev­i­dence Tas­sal was set­ting up the nec­es­sary equip­ment, ac­cord­ing to Aus­tralian me­dia sources.

Huon ar­gued the op­er­a­tion could ‘se­verely com­pro­mise’ fish wel­fare and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions in its own leases in the har­bour.

The EPA was in re­ceipt of a draft pro­posal from Tas­sal but hours af­ter Huon’s in­junc­tion the reg­u­la­tor an­nounced the dredg­ing ‘should not pro­ceed at this point’.

‘I have ad­vised Tas­sal to­day that the trial should not pro­ceed given the un­cer­tainty about the tech­nique and un­known po­ten­tial im­pacts on the en­vi­ron­ment in Mac­quarie Har­bour,’ EPA chief Wes Ford said.

Huon said the pro­posed op­er­a­tion, which aimed to suck up solid fish waste from the seabed, was risky for all par­ties farm­ing fish in the har­bour.

‘We are not aware of any­where else in the world that dredg­ing un­der salmon pens is used in a pro­duc­tion set­ting,’ Huon Aqua­cul­ture ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Frances Ben­der said.

‘The po­ten­tial im­pact to us, a neigh­bour­ing op­er­a­tor, risks tens of mil­lions of dol­lars of pro­duc­tion fish.’

Huon Aqua­cul­ture de­scribed the tech­nol­ogy Tas­sal planned to use in the Franklin lease, ad­ja­cent to a World Her­itage Area (WHA), as ‘un­proven and risky ... in a com­pro­mised wa­ter­way’.

Huon’s in­junc­tion was the lat­est episode of its bat­tle with Tas­sal in Mac­quarie Har­bour, ex­ac­er­bated when Ben­der com­plained in a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary about the poor state of the har­bour.

Tas­sal hit back at Huon Aqua­cul­ture, ac­cus­ing it of try­ing to play in­dus­try reg­u­la­tor.

Above: En­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

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