Tassal in new tussle with Huon
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.