Huon Aquaculture’s move to open a zombie finfish lease in Norfolk Bay for their POMV-infected salmon, without public consultation or an impact assessment is a retrograde step. It is a far cry from the social licence the company claims it is trying to achieve.

The salmon lease directly threatens habitat for endangered red handfish, sea grass meadows, flathead and a shark nursery, and demonstrates just how woefully inadequate the Liberal Government’s management of the salmon industry has become.

Their claim to be setting the salmon industry on a sustainable trajectory by going “oceanic” is nothing more than spin. There is nothing deep sea about the waters off Lime Bay State Reserve.

As well as the clear threat to marine life posed by the salmon pen, the company’s verbal promises to Tasman Council that salmon would be used for 12 weeks maximum are shown to be hollow. HAC have made it clear they will be using the lease until at least 31st December 2018, well into the prime recreational fishing period.

Locals and recreational fishers from Dodges Ferry, Connolly’s Marsh, Primrose Sands and Carlton River are angry at the failure to consult, and at HAC’s total disregard for the sensitive habitat around the lease area. The concerns of locals are being voiced by fish tour operators like Mark Duncan, who set up a roadside protest that prompted constant honking from passing motorists in support of keeping Norfolk Bay fish farm free.

The Primary Industries Minister, Sarah Courtney, has so far failed to protect the communities of the Southern Beaches and Tasman Peninsula, and the marine environment that sustains their lifestyles and businesses. Ms Courtney must step in and halt the transfer of HAC’s diseased salmon to Norfolk Bay.