*Pic: Fish farming in Macquarie Harbour, Flickr, Rodtuk
TUESDAY, May 23 ...
• Richard Kopf in Comments: #37 I can’t comment on algae blooms in rivers but I do know that Chile has a location that is a mirror of the East Coast, specifically Okehampton Bay.
It is the island of Chiloe. Same latitude, same water temperature, same vegetation and once had a thriving salmon farming and seafood industry. Then one day it was all gone. Wiped out by a massive Red Tide, a harmful algal bloom or HAB. Climate change and increased nitrate load created by salmon farming, the likely culprits. A window into Tasmania’s future? Google Chiloe , Chile, Salmon farming. There is much to read.
First published May 19
Tasmania’s peak environment group is calling on the Tasmania Government to take immediate action to force Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour operations to comply with state laws, after an independent audit report found the company will likely lose their industry certification for operating in breach of Tasmanian regulations.
The company was found to be in breach of a total of 19 Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards.
Four of Tassal’s non-conformities are classified as ‘major’, including a breach in the requirement to comply with state and national laws.
According to ASC standards, just one major non-conformity results in a loss of ASC Certification.
Tassal now has 90 days to rectify these non-conformities before their accreditation is revoked. The company’s non-conformities range from oxygen levels at farms which breach fish welfare conditions, to a failure to present mortality reports to auditors and the absence of an effective mechanism for handling community complaints.
“Finally audit bodies have looked past Tassal’s spin and considered the scientific evidence on the damage Tassal are doing to Macquarie Harbour, including damage to our World Heritage Area” said Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania.
“It is astounding that Tassal looks set to lose their sustainability certification for breaking state laws, but the Tasmanian EPA still refuses to take any compliance action against Tassal’s ongoing breaches.”
“Minister Rockliff continues to defend his Government’s inaction by referring to the ‘big new fines’ he has introduced. But the Minister has failed to issue a single fine. The EPA has also confirmed that they will allow Tassal to operate at 4,000 tonnes above the 12,000 tonne biomass for Macquarie Harbour, despite the threats this poses to our World Heritage Area and workers in other salmon companies.”
According to Environment Tasmania, moves by the ASC towards decertifying Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour operations will go some way to preventing consumers from being misled about the sustainability of the product they are purchasing.
“It is now up to the conservation group WWF, which has also been endorsing Tassal, to consider whether they will continue to take large amounts of money from a company that is breaking state laws and operates without regard for fish welfare, our World Heritage Area or endangered species,” Ms Kelly said.
*Laura Kelly is Strategy Director of Environment Tasmania
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