Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today congratulated the Marine Farming Review Panel on its decision to reject Tassal’s application to expand its Soldier’s Point salmon farm in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

“In the submissions to the application decision, scientists and concerned citizens pointed out the lack of big picture planning for aquaculture, use of antibiotics and anti-foulant on nets, nutrient overload of marine systems and the paucity of information about the Channel and the dolerite reef which has ultimately scuttled the application,” Senator Brown said in Hobart.

“I received a letter from the panel yesterday saying it had rejected the expansion proposal based on environmental grounds as the damage to a nearby dolerite reef, which is rare in the Channel, could not be quantified.”

“I was also heartened to see that before deciding to reject the application the panel was open to conditions being placed on any expansion, such as a limit or reduction in nets with anti-foulant applied.

“This is a wise decision that will give new confidence to the many Tasmanians who are concerned about the operation of fish farms and their impact on our waterways.”

Sustainable Aquaculture Needed
Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader
Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the decision by the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel (the Panel) to reject a proposal by the Tassel Group Ltd to expand their lease area at Soldiers Point in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Greens Leader and Member for Franklin Nick McKim MP said the proposed expansion posed a risk to the habitat of a rare reef southeast of Soldiers Point which the Panel found sufficiently serious to declare, ‘… that the high conservation and social value of the reef over rides the potential economic benefit gained from the proposal’.

Mr McKim also said the Greens recognise the local employment and business opportunities that a sustainable aquaculture presents for the Channel region, and that the Panel’s process is a step in the right direction to protect the industry’s ongoing viability.

“The Greens welcome the Panel rejection of the proposed expansion of this fish farm lease in the Channel, as it is important for both the environment and the ongoing viability of the industry for sustainable parameters to be established,” Mr McKim said.

“This expanded lease proposal presented a number of impacts, including a threat to a rare reef nearby, which the Panel decided were sufficiently serious for the expansion to not proceed.”

“This decision sets a precedent for future fish farm proposals, and should also serve to encourage the industry to continue in its efforts to protect the waterways in which it operates and boost the community’s ongoing involvement in the decision-making process.”