*Pic: Ted Mead of a fish farm pen on Taroona Beach
Pic: Storm Bay, off Bruny Island
First published May 10
Bruny Island community groups; Friends of North Bruny Inc. (FONB), Bruny Island Community Association (BICA) and the Bruny Island Environment Network (BIEN) have joined together to make a joint submission regarding Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna’s expansion plans in Storm Bay with the Marine Farming Branch of DPIPWE.
The three groups have now formed Bruny Sustainable Aquaculture to coordinate the responses of the three community groups.
Spokesperson Mr Gerard Castles said, “We are NOT trying to stop fish farms. We want a truly sustainable approach to finfish farming in the Bruny bioregion. We are calling for a moratorium until such time as finfish farming is considered in relation to all other uses and users of resources in the waters surrounding Bruny Island and across Storm Bay.”
In their statement to the Panel the Bruny community groups said:
● Our own research has shown that what is planned around Bruny is a massive expansion.
o The proposed leases are massive industrial feedlots. The proposed industrial fish pens in Storm Bay will hold 30 million kgs of fish initially with an “aspiration” to farm 80 million kgs of fish a year.
o Thirty million kgs needs to be put in perspective - this is like a city of more than 500,000, 60kg humans releasing sewerage in Storm Bay every single day.
● BSA highlighted community concerns with the expansion. Mr Castles said, “The extent of industrial fish farming planned for waters around Bruny Island including Storm Bay has shocked many residents and they have strong concerns that they want addressed to avoid another disaster like Macquarie Harbour.”
● Community members are very concerned about the environmental impact of this massive expansion. We know that putting 30 million + kgs of fish in Storm Bay will drive up nutrient levels and bring problems with algal growth that affects the whole food chain.
● Members have raised concerns around marine safety resulting from increased fish farm traffic, noise, lights and economic impacts on established fisheries and tourism operators.
● The Bruny community is particularly concerned about the lack of transparency, independence and consultation in the approval process.
o Three separate Marine Farming Plans containing 50 appendices were released for public comment over the Christmas period when everyone was on holidays over Christmas-New Year, preventing any meaningful public comment and input.
o The government has provided no overarching Storm Bay plan for the proposed expansion, but instead has been captured by three competing companies, each of whom wrote its own individual plan for its expansion in Storm Bay.
● “There is inadequate base-line scientific data.” Mr Castles said, “We don’t want another Macquarie Harbour disaster.” We want CSIRO and IMAS to do the science, not the salmon companies. No approvals should be given until an independent marine farm development plan has been developed as part of a wider plan for the use, development and management of resources across the Bruny Bioregion.
The Bruny groups through BSA is running a community information program through Facebook and the web highlighting concerns (see attached information flyer) and collaborating with groups from Kingborough, East Coast, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula to demand that planning for industrial marine farm development in the waters around Bruny including Storm Bay is done transparently. “We’re not going away until the community has been listened to,” said Mr Castles.
Historic Bruny Island is the gateway to Hobart and its beautiful waters of the Channel, South Bruny and Storm Bay are an important part of Tasmania’s clean green brand. Each year it is showcased to the world as the yachts of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race move through Storm Bay to the Derwent.
Over 120 cruise ships visit Hobart navigating through Storm Bay every year and there is an increasing number of tourism and adventure enterprises surrounding Bruny’s famed waters.
The Salmon farming industry is planning a massive expansion of industrial finfish feedlots into Storm Bay.
This risks damaging the environment, killing native fish and oceanic species, creating more noise and light pollution, damaging the tourism industry, damaging Tasmania’s clean green brand, and degrading the shorelines of both Bruny Island, and our neighbours along South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula.
We’re not against fish farming – but we believe the proposed expansion is just not sustainable.
THE FISH FARM ICEBERG
IT’S JUST NOT SUSTAINABLE
WHAT YOU SEE
FISH MEAL, VEGETABLE
PROTEIN & FISH OIL
Using wild-caught fish to feed
farmed fish puts pressure on wild
fish populations and can impact
the entire ocean food chain.
DRUGS AND CHEMICALS
Antibiotics, anti-foul and other
chemicals can have devastating
effects on marine ecosystems
especially shellfish and
Atlantic salmon expel vast
amounts of highly
fecal waste. 30,000,000 kg of
fish will be like having all of
Tasmania’s sewage piped directly into
Storm Bay every day.
THE URINE IS WORSE
Nitrogen contained in fish urine will add
to the already high nitrogen flows from
agriculture in the Derwent Valley and,
combined with rising sea temperatures,
will further clog the Channel and Storm Bay
with marine plants and aggressive algae
PARASITES & DISEASE
Diseases and parasites amplify in
crowded net pens and spread rapidly.
Rising water temperature’s don’t help.
BUT WAIT - THERES MORE
Escaped fish, toxic dead zones under
the pens, the risk of disease in the wild
fish population and impacts on wild
species like seals, sharks and rays.
of fish is the same
NOISE, TRAFFIC AND DEBRIS
Fish farms are industrial areas creating noise,
light pollution and lots of sea traffic. Storm
Bay is called ‘STORM’ for a reason - wild
weather will break pens apart releasing debris
that fouls the ocean, kills wildlife and creates
a real danger to recreational boating.