Today the EPA has confirmed they will allow up to 18,000 tonnes of salmon in Macquarie Harbour, despite a recent IMAS report confirming Tassal had a 2nd dead zone in the Harbour in January and World Heritage values and endangered species have been impacted. In a near farcical turn, the EPA is allowing Tassal to pump more pollution into the compromised ecosystem, if they endeavour to capture thousands of tonnes of faeces using a tarp.

“It is inconceivable that the EPA is allowing 18,000 tonnes of salmon to remain in a suffocating ecosystem, despite the threats to biosecurity, World Heritage and endangered species,” said Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania.

“This decision confirms the EPA has been captured by Tassal – the biggest fisheries company in Australia, when all that was needed was a decision requiring Tassal to harvest early – a decision Huon Aquaculture has already made.”

Environment Tasmania, the state’s peak environmental group, has also raised serious concerns about the ‘tarp traps’ Tassal trialed in Macquarie Harbour in March this year, before receiving the proper legal approvals.

“In March Tassal experimented with faecal traps in the harbour without the required environmental protection permit. Rather than fine Tassal, the EPA is allowing them to proceed with their attempts to capture thousands of tonnes of faeces using a tarp.”

“The reason tarp traps aren’t used commercially anywhere in the world is that they failed at trial stage – in Canada faeces stuck to the sides and divers had to be sent down to vacuum it up.”

“I put a tarp on my rubbish when I take it to the tip. Unfortunately they’re just not a credible solution when a World Heritage Area and millions of dollars are at stake,” Ms Kelly said.

“These low-tech tarps are nothing more than a fig leaf on faecal mounds. That the EPA is willing to allow low tech experiments in an already suffocating ecosystem demonstrates the lengths to which Premier Hodgman will go to avoid having to take a stand against Australia’s largest fisheries company,” Ms Kelly said.

“Environment Tasmania is again calling on Premier Hodgman to intervene in Macquarie Harbour to pull Tassal into line and prevent further damage to Brand Tasmania.”

For a (low budget) background click here: