The EPA must step in and halt any plans Tassal has to dredge the seabed in Macquarie Harbour. This would mean serious risks for the marine environment and the surrounding commercial activities.
Huon Aquaculture’s announcement they are seeking a court injunction to stop Tassal dredging the benthic layer of the Harbour is alarming. It’s a sign the company does not have full confidence the EPA will act strongly to prevent dredging and protect the Harbour’s marine environment, and its business interests.
Tassal has said they still need EPA approval to go ahead, but they’ve already transported dredging equipment across to the West Coast. This is very concerning, and a pre-emptive step for something they claim is ‘just a concept’.
The Greens understand Tassal wants to dredge the benthic layer under their lease to clean up extensive piles of fish excrement that has accumulated. This activity is untested in the Harbour, and there are a great many risks for the marine environment and biosecurity.
Macquarie Harbour’s waters have already been severely damaged by intensive fish farming. The Maugean skate and other animals and plants are threatened by low dissolved oxygen levels. There is already a dead zone underneath Tassal’s Franklin lease.
If the public is to have any faith in salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour, the EPA must knock back this highly risky and damaging plan, and short-circuit the need for yet another salmon industry court action. They must direct all salmon companies to fully comply with best practice as a matter of urgency.