Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Frances Bender ‘Environmental Warrior’: I beg to differ …

Frances and Peter Bender, from HAC’s website, here

First published March 22

Living next door to the Huon Aquaculture Company’s Lonnavale salmon hatchery I would love to be able to report that Frances Bender’s recent expressions of concern for the environment were matched by the reality on the ground.

Sadly I cannot.

In December 2016 we witnessed Frances Bender in the ABC Four Corners program in tears as she spoke about protecting the environment in Macquarie Harbour.

Earlier this month there was a media release for International Women’s Day describing her as an “Environmental Warrior” and in the Saturday Mercury (March 11,) ‘Talking Point’ article she wrote that “Peter and I operate our farms as safely and sustainably as we know how and when the science tells us something we listen.”

In November 2009 the Environmental Protection Authority and the Huon Valley Council told me the extremely long filamentous green and brown algae growing over and around our water intake pipe in the Russell River in Lonnavale are common in all rivers.

November 13, 2009 Russell River, Lonnavale 2.2km downstream of the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery daily sewerage discharge into this river. Pictured is the water intake pipe for all our household water.
The highly visible algae, as pictured, is 2.2km downstream of the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery and yet upstream from the hatchery there isn’t any.

Since 2009 I have been taking regular photographs of the Russell River both upstream and downstream from the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery. The pictures simply tell it all.

Upstream of the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery any day of the year.

Upstream from the fish farm and there is no sign of any algae ever occurring there, and despite numerous requests to Frances Bender and the Director EPA Wes Ford, no-one is able to provide me with any images showing upstream eutrophication.

Why not? Simple. There isn’t any.

Despite our suspicions in 2009 the filamentous green algae may have had something to do with the nearby Huon Aquaculture Fish Farm, the authorities (regulators) advised us this was not the case. The EPA even referred me to the esteemed Professor Peter Davies from the University of Tasmania.

Professor Davies had been commissioned by Huon Aquaculture to prepare a report on the river as a requirement of the Environmental Protection Notice that had been served on the company. In his correspondence to me he stated:

The issues are because of local agriculture, the impact of the nearby Gunns plantation, the specific bends in the river and the fact that we had cleared the banks of this section of the river from pampas grasses and blackberry.

The report by P.E. Davies titled “Nutrient and Algal levels in the Russell River and their relationship to discharges from the Huon Aquaculture Company (HAC) farm facility (Report to Huon Aquaculture Company)” was published in 2010.

Despite numerous attempts to view a copy of this report on the state of our Community river from HAC, the EPA and DPIPWE, we have been denied any access citing “commercial in confidence”.

A request by Environment Tasmania to obtain a copy of this report has now been with the Ombudsman going on three years.

An abridged version of a second report published in 2015 is available on their website. Despite acknowledging that there is significantly more algae just downstream of the hatchery than upstream Professor Davies somehow comes to the conclusion that this is caused by “a combination of factors with no relation to the HAC discharge” but he offers no explanation as to what these might be.

There are lots of graphs and charts but no photos. Again, why not produce the photographic evidence?

In contrast I can show an extensive collection of clear images of severe eutrophication downstream. The downstream algae is a year round brown slippery slime on the riverbed; and for many months of the year there is extreme long green filamentous algae often fluorescent in colour as is shown in my photograph taken March 10th 2017.

March 10, 2017 Russell River, Lonnavale 2.2km downstream of the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery daily sewerage discharge into this river

After years of exhaustive research, communicating with both Frances and Peter Bender, after numerous letters and emails with Director EPA, Alex Schaap, Director EPA Wes Ford, DPIPWE, Inland Fisheries, the Huon Valley Council and all levels of government, I have amassed an extensive collection of the most compelling evidence … Evidence the cause of the severe eutrophication of the Russell River is indeed the HAC Fish Farm. Acknowledgement their farm discharges 26 million litres of fish farm sewerage*, every day of the year into the Russell River. (10 Olympic swimming pools)

In science terms this volume is innocuously referred to as 0.3 Cumecs, however most disturbingly at times of the year this also represents the “entire flow” of this once pristine mountain stream.

Huon Aquaculture has a licence from DPIPWE to extract up to 100% of the river for their industrial activity and in all my 9 years of investigation I have not seen any consideration whatsoever from Frances or Peter Bender for the downstream Lonnavale community, any regard for the tourists and anglers who visit the Russell, and certainly there is no respect for the environment.

We no longer see Platypus or the delightful River Rat and according to fishers who fish downstream, trout fishing is now hopeless. And you can forget swimming.

I have on file letters from former Director EPA, Alex Schaap who wrote to me in November 2014 saying in part:

“Having said that, the risks to the longer term ecological health of the river through nutrient enrichment must be addressed and, in any event, there has clearly been a substantial impact on environmental amenity during warmer low flow periods which warrants resolution sooner rather than later.” (9/11/2014)

“As previously advised, I agree with you that excessive algal growth in the Russell River is unsatisfactory from both an ecological and an environmental amenity basis. I am also satisfied that the nutrient rich discharge from the hatchery is a significant driver for that algal growth.

While huge improvement has already been made, I also agree that this situation – should have been remedied some years ago and I remain committed to appropriately remedying the issue.” (19/11/2014)

And on 30th June 2015 Wes Ford wrote to me:

“It has been previously agreed that the operations of the Huon Aquaculture Group are having an impact on the river through the nutrients from their flow through system.”

And in an interview with Airlie Ward, on ABC Australia Wide in July 2015:

“EPA director Wes Ford admitted the discharge from the hatchery was a significant cause of algal growth.”

“The hatchery, its discharge, the nutrients in it does have an impact on the river,” he said.”

“Mr Ford said as salmon farming expands operators may be banned from running more hatcheries on Tasmanian waterways and be required to use recirculation systems.”

Which Mr Ford later corrected in writing on 27th July 2015 as follows:

“That may inevitably mean that larger systems will need to operate as full recirculation systems, particularly if they are on smaller waterways.”

In February 2017 I wrote to Director Wes Ford alerting him to anecdotal evidence the Hatchery had closed down since September 2016, the onsite manager had taken 12 months’ leave, and that we observed little to no vehicle movements to and from the fish farm for the five month period.

I advised Wes Ford the river was looking the best I have ever seen it in all our 9 years. In a return email to me March 3rd 2017 Wes Ford repeated the very same rhetoric I have been hearing for the past 8 years:

“I acknowledge your advice that the river improved the period from September to January but has clearly changed again in the past two weeks. This is in my view a combination of warmer weather, decreasing flows and nutrient levels providing suitable conditions for algal growth.

As I have indicated on a number of occasions there a number of sources on (sic) nutrient input into the river.

At this point the information I have suggests Huon Aquaculture are complying with the current EPN.”

There are no other inputs into the 2.2km section of river from below the fish farm to the bottom of my 5 acre property which fronts onto the river. There has been no neighbouring agricultural activity and no forestry practices in the past 8 years or more, and the Huon Valley Council have confirmed there are no leaking septic systems.

Neither Wes Ford nor Frances Bender are able or willing to provide any evidence of any other pollution inputs into the Russell River.

The popular Rivers Edge Wilderness Camping ground, which is directly opposite the Hatchery, has a state of the art septic system and a regime of regular waste removal. And, anyway, the downstream severe eutrophication was occurring well before the Camping ground opened to the public.

On numerous occasions well experienced angler Richard Dax has walked the river from our property to the discharge pipe and finds no other possible inputs of any kind into the river.

The only source of high nutrient input into the Russell River is the various discharges from the Huon Aquaculture Fish Farm. These nutrient rich polluting inputs are either from their antiquated and no longer considered best practice Flow Through pond system, are due to the run off from their high nutrient waste irrigation onto heavy clay based land, or indeed a combination of both.

Or if I listen to anecdotal comments it could well be because this fish farm knowingly discharge high nutrient water into the river from their supposed closed loop recirculating system, especially at various times of the year when they remove the smolt and clean the tanks.

Of course Huon Aquaculture are complying with the current EPN. Huon Aquaculture have been served with EPNs in 2007, 2014 and 2015 and the nutrient limits in the EPN are simply too generous in favour of the polluter.

And besides who is responsible for testing the nutrient levels – HAC staff of course. The EPA advises me they don’t have the resources to do their own testing. I have tried suggesting to Wes Ford to engage an “independent” company to test the discharges and to invoice those costs back to HAC. But no, the EPA are comfortable that HAC staff test at the GPS locations shown in their EPN and at the time and dates HAC provide in their reporting.

Despite three EPNs being served on HAC over the past 10 years there is no visible difference to the downstream environmental damage to our river.

Wes Ford wrote to me in October 2015 saying:

“My objective is to seek minimise (sic) the impact on the river and have Huon operating within an acceptable level of impact. However, this does not include managing for zero impact.”

And in September 2016 he said:

“A requirement to reduce input loads further will effectively require the company to close the flow through facility for its brood stock and replace it with a full recirculation system.”

Within days of the Hatchery going back into production last month, the downstream eutrophication came back with a vengeance, and in March 2017 it is as bad as it was back 8 years ago in 2009.

It is worse than it was in October 2015 when the EPA and a staffer from Huon Aquaculture inspected the river and advised the downstream eutrophication is showing 100% cover and the strands are 20cm to 30cm long.

October 8, 2015 Russell River, Lonnavale 2.2km downstream of the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery. Pictured are an EPA Officer and a Marine Biologist.

Frances Bender went on to say in her Talking Point article:

“I think it is also fair to say that as an ‘industry’ we are not helping ourselves.”

The first licence was given to operate a small hatchery on the Russell River was granted 20 years ago and in January 2006 this licence was transferred to Peter and Frances Bender. From what was once a small Trout Hatchery we now have a multimillion dollar hatchery producing millions of smolt from thousands of brood fish.

Later this month HAC will undertake up to 144 tanker truck movements of smolt from this Hatchery travelling to the vessel Ronja Huon moored at Port Huon. This is certainly no longer a small hatchery.

The Russell River simply does not have the capacity and flow to absorb the considerable high nutrient discharges into the river – a concern raised by DPIPWE and IFS back in 2008 when the Huon Valley Council incorrectly identified this mountain stream to be a lowland river.

Former Director Alex Schaap, EPA and Director John Diggle, IFS have both agreed the Russell River was once renowned for great trout fishing.

Richard Dax, formerly Executive Officer with Anglers Alliance Tasmania, has over 30 years’ experience fishing the Russell River. He has personally witnessed the diminished opportunities below the Hatchery whilst above it is still an excellent quality fishing location.

The EPA keep saying “we need more science” and in December 2014 Manager Environmental Operations EPA, Mr Darryl Cook told me they are concerned over the might of the Huon Aquaculture Company should they consider legal action against the EPA.

Now that Frances Bender is taking legal action against Director Wes Ford ( ABC here ), surely it is timely for the EPA to take immediate demonstrative action to save the Russell River from the ongoing pollution of this Huon Aquaculture Fish Farm. Ten years of “science” is long enough.

I’m not asking for the industry to be shut down. I’m just asking Frances Bender to put her money where her mouth is and spend the dollars required to install a full recirculation system – as they were forced to do at their new Forest Home Hatchery in Ranelagh.

Their new Ranelagh Hatchery is upstream of the Huon Valley water supply intake and HAC were prohibited by Council from discharging any waste into the Huon River. In August 2015 Peter Bender said in a press release in the local Huon Valley News:

“Forest Home is an essential part of Huon growing sustainably into the future and it has been important for us to take the time to construct a facility of the highest environmental credentials.

The Forest Home Hatchery is a ‘zero discharge’ facility ensuring no discharges of waste into the Huon River…”

As Frances Bender so correctly says in her Mercury article “Tasmanians do not have to choose between the environment and jobs. We have the science, the intelligence and the respect to be able to clearly achieve both”.

And that’s precisely what she should do.

* Sewerage Macquarie Dictionary, page 92.

“Geoffrey Swan resides on a 5 acre property downstream from the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery in Lonnavale. Since 2008 he has been observing the ongoing destruction of the Russell River, and has been in constant contact with all relevant authorities, all levels of Government and both Frances and Peter Bender. He has also been fighting for the nearby Little Denison River which is being similarly polluted by the Snowy Range Hatchery who also employs the antiquated Flow Through Pond system. There are a further 13 Hatcheries throughout Tasmania employing this no longer considered best practice process of discharging their sewerage water into the local freshwater rivers.”

Mercury, Talking Point: River discharge raises suspicion of environmental harm

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Geoffrey Swan

    April 4, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    #39 I think you meant to post on the other story.

    There has been a bank account set up to accept donations to assist with Mr Coad’s legal costs. You can contact the Huon Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association.

  2. Helping

    April 3, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Does Mr Coad have a GofundMe page?

  3. Geoffrey Swan

    April 3, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Interesting ABC radio story at 8.30am this morning about the clean up of rubbish in Macquarie Harbour – well worth a listen to hear how Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna appear to have hijacked the PR of this volunteer clean up event.

    About 300 cubic metres of rubbish which will be analysed by the CSIRO to see where it has come from.

    West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers speaks up but is clearly sitting on the fence and is not wanting to upset these local Aquaculture employers. And how the local council are not charging the estimated $11,000 to dispose of the waste which it appears is predominantly coming from these three large highly profitable companies.

    And then Vica Bayley tells it as it really is.

    About 5 minutes in for 10 mins – and later some interesting comments from listeners. This industry is simply not being transparent.


  4. MJf

    April 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Steady on William @ 36

    I think your last commentary relates to the HVC upheavals more so ?
    This is the G Swan thread on Russell River contamination, Frances Bender etc

  5. William Boeder

    April 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    #35. Thank you MJF for portraying the goings-on among Tasmania’s Local Council big-shots who are required to act with integrity at all times they perform their role as they have been appointed to conduct.
    This is irrespective to how they may now be more familiarly aligned with elected Council Officials also that they must resist improper ministerial instructions and or illicit demands albeit that they may be soonest intended.
    Then we must consider how this serious HCV unwarranted and heavily biased incident was then plonked on the desk of treasurer Peter Gutwein, who well may not have the official empowerment nor authority to pass a judgement that could be suggested as to be clearly in the interests of some under-belly agenda proposed, or are in effect soon to be current undertakings.
    Local Councils under the biased control of such Illuminati’s as are the ministers in Tasmania’s State government.
    My modicum of knowledge relating to Australian law tells me that a Federal Court Judge would be highly critical of this State’s caprice with its exclusive State government and Local Council manipulative actions, or even intendings (be they disapproved of by the majority of Tasmania’s people, or are outside of community acceptable understandings, or even if they are considered by the Tasmanian people as contemptuous undertakings) toward each of the above examples, there must be serious needs for further examination.
    So many of the supposed to be official causes or reasons to deal in and by way of the above-mentioned 3 examples, each method should be open to a far more reputable and judicious group than this collective of State government ministers and or Local Council General Managers.
    The fact that this comment of mine may be considered egregious is of no serious event, other than the requirements stipulated in the above should already be part and parcel to all appointed officials and to include government elected (then mind converted) State representative ministers.

  6. mJf

    April 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm


    Yeah – 15 months to draft, finalise and serve a notice that’s still loose enough to be contestable.

    A fine effort by the ‘independent’ watchdog.

    I wonder what the input costs of raising this notice would be ?

    Disappointing to read Ford’s done a pirouette with you

    William # 34 – standard process at work here. We’ll schedule a meeting, then a 3 day workshop at Sapphire Coles Bay (or similar swanky venue), then a video conference or two, then another meeting, then a follow-up seminar at central Zepps where our statewide reps can get together and enjoy the catering, should only costs two nights travel allowance for 12 peoples. Nope….can’t do, so and so’s gone on leave, nobody else is familiar with this case and their position isn’t covered anyway. Oh well, leave it to be organised when they get back. Better still, we should all take a longer break across Easter ………..how’s the weather in marrakech ?

  7. William Boeder

    March 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you MJF, you have given a reasonably considered account of how this Russell River polluting matter is being fiddled with..
    I agree that the hands on personnel would give it their best shot to get involved but as you say the upper level incumbents still cop their attractive salary while sitting at their desk ploughing through their footy tipping options.

    The general malaise assumed by the upper level ranks will ever persist when there is no strict regulatory agency or senior appointed head-kicker who is capable of applying a heavy kick to the head of the non-performing and don’t-care persons who have become proficient in excuse making or even in blaming others.
    The old army service days would have had some accountability happening, often the fear of a good smack in the chops was all that was needed.

  8. Disappointed

    March 28, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    People must cringe when they hear “clean and green” and “world’s best practise” used in relation to Tasmania. Such titles have to be earned.

    But in Tasmania…

    The lower Derwent River sediment has world-class pollution …

    The King and Queen Rivers have world-class pollution …

    Legacy mining problems in other rivers …

    The Forestry Agreement is being torn up …

    Macquarie Harbour is being wrecked …

    Towns have contaminated drinking water …

    Hydro power should be cheap, but now costs a fortune and drains the lakes …

    Can’t blame history, because it is still happening.

    Still a nice place to live, but not because of good planning.

  9. MJF

    March 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm


    I think your request(s) can be best treated as separate questions. I’ll overlook your cavalier approach to presentation.

    Perhaps you’re still rattled from that recent mauling by invicta elsewhere. For the record I think (from your written accounts at least) you would make a very poor misogynist.

    I believe there are many different aspects to this sorry saga in play. I also believe there are any amount of minions employed within government department ranks that would readily leap into action and respond to an individual citizens concerns but are suppressed and discouraged from actually doing their jobs by a combination of bullying, oppression, threats, intimidation and stonewalled by good old arse covering managers, middle and upper.

    The EPA is a classical example of this culture where every decision is based eventually on legal opinion and due process being seen to have been followed with political gamesmanship thrown in as the active ingredient.

    Tasmanian bureaucrats are only concerned with their own survival and hardly work in an environment where employee opinion is valued and trusted. The only people doing well out of this organisation are the solicitors and barristers on hire but that is par for course for matters of the environment, anywhere. All comes down to legal position and interpretation

    While Swanny is doing an admirable job is exposing and documenting this rort, he seems to be but a lone voice. He will not get any justice without input and assistance by political
    intervention, that’s how it works. To this end I’m very keen to see if Dr Woodruff does something worthwhile to assist her constituency and a real cause.

    Perhaps the self anointed bush lawyer Peter Coxhed could throw his sombrero into the ring as well, Swanny needs all the help he can get (to quote C W McCall) as he’s clearly breaststroking against the tide (aka Wes Ford)

    You have me mixed up with someone else re FPA authoritative positioning, possibly J Lumbar ? I haven’t benefitted from such an imperious posting but wish I had.

  10. Geoffrey Swan

    March 27, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    #29 Will try again MJF… my amazement was it took EPA 15 months to prepare and serve a “draft” EPN knowing all along there was a downstream issue.

    Meanwhile it was business as usual for Cleary.

    I left out one of Wes Ford’s responses: March 17, 2016 which does sound like he will not provide me with a copy of the EPN?

    “I can advise you that Mr Cleary has lodged an appeal with the Resource Management Planning Appeal Tribunal against the conditions of the EPN, hence until that matter is resolved I will not be providing you with a copy of the EPN.”

  11. William Boeder

    March 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    MJF. Do you believe there is some form of official care and concern shown toward the Tasmanian environment at any stage by the State Lib/Lab government ministers themselves, in this question I also refer to responding to the individual concerns of persons that have firm valid reason for reporting of same?
    I seek you response as I believe you have served in an authoritative capacity on the FPA.
    Tis a difficult thing for me to recall if there have been cases when our government authoritative departments have actually functioned in the manner set out in their statutes and to have immediately respond to a genuine urgent claim to an action of an extreme pollution occurrence within the bounds of Tasmania.
    Then do you believe that an individual citizen claiming same would be appreciated by that department for bringing news of same?

  12. MJF

    March 26, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    # 27
    If Cleary lodged an appeal (W Ford July 2016), that must mean the EPN was served. If W Ford was a man of his word he would have provided a copy to you as communicated March 2016 (appeal or not).
    Are you not entitled to ask where is it ?

  13. Geoffrey Swan

    March 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    #25 Very comfortable Robin that I have all my ducks in a row and files and files of evidence and emails.

    No surprise Frances Bender is keeping a low profile on this one hoping it will all once again go away … as it has every time there has been media attention to this shocking issue.

  14. Geoffrey Swan

    March 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you one and all for such positive support – you cannot possibly imagine how good it feels to have some intelligent commentary playing out of this unbearably long issue.

    #26 – How slowly the wheels turn when it comes to protecting our environment – here are the updates on the EPN being served on the Snowy Range. If as I am advised Tassal have now purchased this property.. wonder what happens to the “draft” EPN…

    October 2015 Wes Ford “The draft EPN has not been finalised and hence not served at this stage. I will provide it to you once it has been served.”

    March 2016 Wes Ford “The draft EPN has not been finalised and hence not served at this stage. I will provide it to you once it has been served.”

    July 2016 Wes Ford “The appeal lodged by Mr Cleary has not been resolved at this stage. We have a directions hearing next week, this will provide us with some clarity about what is required to resolve this matter, and whether a full hearing will be required.”

    September 2016 Wes Ford “The EPN for the Snowy Range Hatchery remains in the appeal tribunal process and therefore it is not appropriate that I pre empt the outcome of that process.”

    January 2017 Rene Hidding “I can inform you that whilst the EPN issued to the Snowy Range Aquaculture remains before the Resource Management Planning Appeal Tribunal, the fish farm is currently destocked”.

  15. Mjf

    March 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Swanny @18

    Thank you for clarification that Dr Woodruff is in your corner.

    Whilst I’m no fan of the Greens, she clearly is your best chance in this shambles and ought to be helpful if in fact it is “right up there on her critical follow up list for immediate action”.

    You may need to keep the heat on her in terms of an action plan.

    These sentiments certainly sound encouraging though.

    ET should also be on the front foot in lobbying government given their earlier involvement. Just beyond me why there’s so little traction after so long and so much evidence.

    Wes Ford and his EPA certainly seem to have no interest in rectifying this disgrace judging by their obfuscation and stalling tactics that you’ve been subjected to.

    Re the issued EPN, if the respondent decides to contest the notice via the courts, then nothing is required to change re site processes and releases until legal challenge is finalised ?

    I wonder how long this process might take ?

    Why did the EPA not begin proceedings against the hatchery with a basic Show Cause letter ?

    In the meantime every flood event must bring some welcome relief to the affected river section and adjacent property owners.

  16. Robin Charles Halton

    March 25, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I was wondering why TT was shut down yesterday!

    I thought that Geoffery’s article to the media had backfired resulting in the government asking the AFP to investigate the matter (the media report)

    Considering that aquaculture is one of the State’s most important growth industries, I do realise that Mrs Bender will now have to also consider matters such as direct pollution of a freshwater stream, the Russell River.

    The matter has to be resolved as in a way, Mrs Bender promotes the aquaculture industry to clean up its act and so it must!

  17. William Boeder

    March 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Another consideration for you Geoffrey, one could always resort to counter the State’s dirty tricks department and begin to contact the major buyers of the aquaculture farmed products.
    The advisements must include how detrimental the growth process of these fish products is actively destroying the volume of potable drinking water available to the people downstream of the fish farm/hatchery/processing plant then that this State’s authorities allow the increasing sludge of fish faeces to predominate and foul a number of Tasmania’s inland rivers.
    Further advices could include the lack of department of health participation in dealing with each of the endangering aspects that occur in Tasmania’s aquaculture farming sector and that their continually ignoring of the polluting of the Russell River in Lonnavale by private business interests while at the same time are permitting the onset of the scourge of the Shellfish industry members being the blue-green algae as it effects the Tasmanian shellfish producers and of vwhich can as good as ban the sale of their aquaculture farmed produce.

    The facts are that the shortcomings of this State government even as though they be a make up of Tasmanian individuals persons that have labelled themselves as the Tasmanian Liberal government, generally it is known that they ignore the plight of its State’s citizens in the same manner this group of ministers are ignoring your plight, furthermore that the insolence, along with the secrecy of function, add to that the whole of State voter disatisfactions clearly illustrate the Liberal Premier and his cabinet are unable to contest a State election per their in competency is a clear sign that they as a political party group should be branded as unfit to contest a State election to govern Tasmania.
    Essentially the behaviours and conducts of this State Liberal party gevernment purports to display the Premier and his Cabinet have been invalidly contesting State’s government elections.
    I will of course search through the statutes of the State’s environment department ti determine if they as the EPA can ignore any and all requests from the lowly regarded citizenry of this State, then one can be assured this State has indeed failed in its Carriage of Tasmania’s Constitutional law.
    If so this sort of behaviour can launch the whole mob of ’em into a soft shquishy mound of this State’s abunduncy of free flowing faecal matter.

  18. Geoffrey Swan

    March 23, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    March 22, 2017 latest German Research

    Maybe it is just a matter of time for Tasmania to catch up with the rest of the world..


    “The researchers also draw another conclusion from their study. They do not consider it advisable to install any further aquacultures on Chilean rivers.

    The authorities have already imposed a moratorium on new salmon farms in the country’s lakes. Operators are now considering the option of moving the farming of medium-sized salmon from the lakes to the rivers. “In theory that could work,” believes Norbert Kamjunke. “But from an ecological perspective, it would not be a good idea.”

  19. Frank Strie, Terra-Preta Developments

    March 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    #17 Duncan Mills on 23/03/17
    … “A whole range of technologies are available to bio filter point source nutrients such biochar adsorption, straw filtration and composting, or grow media filtration all of these representing themselves commercial opportunity and employment growth. The growing permaculture and organic movement is desperate for high quality composts.

    Surely the Bender family’s admirable entrepreneurial culture has the capacity to turn this challenge into an opportunity!”

    This is where we need to explore the opportunities,up-cycling “wasted nutrients”.

    Here just one example indicator article for real change in dealing with our challenges:

    “Life’s economy is primarily based on collaborative rather than competitive advantage”


    A holistic understanding of modern evolutionary biology suggests that life evolves by a process of diversification and subsequent integration of diversity through collaboration (John Stewart in BioSystems, 2014). As our focus shifts from individuals and individual species as the unit of survival to the collective of life — its complex dynamic interactions and relationships — we begin to see that collaborative and symbiotic patterns and interactions are of more fundamental importance than competition as a driving force of evolution. Life’s key strategy to create conditions conducive to life is to optimize the system as a whole rather than maximizes only some parameters of the system for a few at the detriment of many (Wahl, 2016). …


  20. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    # and thanks Duncan. Despite the vitriol I am receiving in the comments section of my Mercury Talking Point article.. I will not let this one go until they take me out in a wooden box.

    I have Frances Bender on video at a public meeting of 70 residents offering to show me photos of upstream long green algae and going to tell me exactly where there are other supposed pollution inputs. That was back in November 2015 and I am still waiting.

    When I approached Frances Bender 4 weeks later asking for the pics – her “sweet talking” PR assistant … told me to “take your own photo’s”.

    Snowy Hatchery under Bob Cleary is apparently closed at this time. In our meeting with EPA December 2014 they were alerted to the same issues with the Little Denison River. Just before Christmas John Diggle, Director IFS and EPA inspected and declared definitely a downstream issue.

    In February 2015 the EPA advised me an EPN was in progress. 24 months later and the EPN has still not been served on the Hatchery – back in mid-2016 Wes Ford has told me the matter is before the courts because Cleary was contesting the EPN.

    Latest news I hear is Mr Cleary was managing the HAC Lonnavale Hatchery (and recently taken a 12 month holiday) and that Tassal have purchased Snowy Range. Cleary was trying to sell it for offers over $3m as a “lifestyle business”.

    And yes… I am well versed with Aquaponics – closed loop system to take nitrate out of fish water to fertilise vegetables who convert it into nitrites and back into the fish water. Both fish and plants thrive. Why not establish a large greenhouse alongside their Hatchery? Too hard I guess and not their core business.

    And cannot forget in all this – the flow through system is FOC. No pumping costs. No water costs. No sewerage disposal costs. A closed loop system will mean spending $$$.

  21. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    #14 thanks “slutface”… oh dear me…

    #15 As always William – thank you for your lengthy dissertation on political procedure – I will read and act. Thanks.

    I did contact Eric Abetz in 2015 but a few weeks later Airlie Ward broke the story and Mr Abetz came back and dismissed me:

    “I now note that you appeared on the ABC’s Australian Wide program broadcast on Saturday 11th July 2015, but filmed in the last month, to raise your concerns. The program was clearly stated to coincide with the Hobart sittings of the Senate Environment and Communications Reference Committee inquiry into the regulation of the fin-fish aquaculture industry in Tasmania.”

  22. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    #16 Greetings MJF – apologies if I overlooked you on a previous occasion. Rosalie Woodruff (and cr Liz Smith and Rebecca Hubbard from ET) back in December 2014 joined me in a meeting at the EPA offices when they attempted to blindside us with a PowerPoint presentation telling us how their EPN would bring about much improvement to the River.

    At the time Rosalie commented to them “at best the nutrient limits the EPA are proposing will put the river situation where it was 2 years previously”. Yes… they had increased the allowable discharge limits.

    Rosalie has been alongside all this time – reality I know is we are just a little river tucked away in the bush – we are not like Macquarie Harbour or Oakhampton. Dr Woodruff has been in touch again this week and advised me it is right up there on her critical follow up list for immediate action.

    When someone else raised an RTI request of the EPA back in June 2015.. Wes Ford wrote


    In late 2007 and 2008 the EPA Division (then Environment Division of DTAE) received complaints
    about the condition of the Russell River from several residents of Lonnavale, stating very high
    levels of algal cover and concern about water quality downstream of the Huon Aquaculture Company’s fish farm outfall.

    Since 2009 all complaints of (sic)about the condition of the Russell River except two have come from a single Lonnavale resident.

    Periodic complaints of high algal cover in the Russell River adjacent to the complainant’s property were made by during 2008 and 2009.

    From June 2014 very frequent complaints were made by the same individual, all raising the concern about algal cover in the Russell River adjacent to the complainant’s property, pollution from the fish farm discharge and a lack of action by regulatory agencies.

    Significant time has been invested by the EPA Division in providing information to the
    complainant as written responses, via a meeting with the complainant and in attending site visits
    to investigate complaints.

    During a meeting in December 2014 with EPA Division staff a resident of Lonnavale made a complaint about a leak from the flow through farm to the Russell River further upstream than the main outfall.

    Nick McKim assisted before my time back in 2007.

  23. Duncan Mills

    March 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Geoffrey, Tasmanians should thank you for this valuable case study of fish hatchery pollution.

    This pollution of your stream demonstrates yet again the flaws of the orthodox model of primary production, the linear entrophic model of production; a bucket full of holes that only succeeds by filling it faster than it runs nutrients to waste. It is the idiocy that is destroying our planets environment for us. Its not only fishfarming, it is dairying by and large, intensive and irrigated cropping.

    It shames our premier institutions such as the University of Tasmania and the Department of Primary Industry. They have all known for decades that the only sustainable and just model is closed cycle systems, and they produce more jobs. UTAS was the birthplace of permaculture! It just requires a cultural change in moving to knowledge systems that embrace complexity, ethics and justice, in short more holistic thinking.

    Orthodox science while a powerful tool, in unwise hands can create many strategic costs due to its blindness to systemic costs.

    This case along with the Macquarie Harbour, Oakhampton bay, highlights the enormous strategic, reputational and brand risks Tasmania is facing, if governments are prepared to compromise the integrity of key institutions and pander to short term thinking.

    In this case the University of Tasmania and DIPWE are equally compromised, as are the craven self serving actions of senior staff.

    Of course enterprise success and particularly employment growth are vital, but it is the height of stupidity and incompetence to trade off short term gains low environmental standards against its cost to others and to future generations.

    I understand originally the Snowy Hatchery was using reed bed filters to remove nutrients, why have standards been allowed to drop? A whole range of technologies are available to bio filter point source nutrients such biochar adsorption, straw filtration and composting, or grow media filtration all of these representing themselves commercial opportunity and employment growth. The growing permaculture and organic movement is desperate for high quality composts.

    Surely the Bender family’s admirable entrepreneurial culture has the capacity to turn this challenge into an opportunity!

  24. MJf

    March 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Swanny @ various

    I have previously requested your Green MHA’s position in this debate. You didn’t answer.

    Still seems to me this is a tailor made brouhaha for a green to get stuck into, firstly by raising some questions in the house.

    Surely you have met with her to work through your case ?

    So what does Dr Woodruff have to say about it or are todays Green members useless ?

    The irony here is that if this was a forestry operation causing ongoing environmental damage to a Tasmanian river, everybody involved would be locked uo with the Greens and their cronies crawling all over it, media releases/stunts by BBF, MFC, TWS etc etc

    Keep at it regardless.

    Perhaps there’s a perceived conflict of interest here given her past councillor role.

  25. William Boeder

    March 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    #5. Geoffrey Swan. as to the subject matter of the aquaculture fish farms utilization of fresh water rivers for Atlantic Salmon then the reality of the harms being introduced thereby is obviously based on the premise that any new industry innovation is automatically given some form of immunity from environmental fallout.
    In the eyes of this State government any new innovation must be protected for it to succeed, also that any new enterprise is out to make big money by the shortest route and the least cost method.
    This abnegation of any responsibility by this State’s Lib/Lab ministerial retards has already cost this State’s clean and green image and its all due to this State’s government departments not giving a damn, more definitely so if the source of the problem comes from some lowly man on the street.
    Dealing with pollution complaints delivered by way of local residents is abhorred by the know-it-all backsliders in this State, (our conglomerate of Lib/Lab State ministers) this reporting action is looked upon the lines of a person a performing a treason upon this State through some scoundrel action daring to bring a pollution notice to the appropriate State government department responsible for this problem..

    The follow up first instigated is, Hmm, we’ll have to fix that bastard that put forward his complaint of fish farms illegal dumping of fish shit into a river and that it then it affects the down-flow of a once pristine source of clean water.
    Who is he, how long has he been here, does he have any clout, probably not so let’s just stonewall him.
    Pollution to whatever portion of Tasmania is considered normal in Tasmania and so is often met with first a rebuttal, then further blunted by the State’s Authorities simply turning a blind eye toward the polluting of waterways.
    Previously this was a major pollution event, even being carried out by this State’s logging banditry and that other parasite outfit of the former Gunns Ltd.
    So Geoffrey my opinion is for you to write to the Federal government minister that deals with outrageous pollution failures and the neglect shown by this State of Tasmania government, also the details of your approaches by them, then to the larger perspectives of how there is a huge continual insouciance by this State’s ministers
    to the dire government failures and how you have no alternative but to report to the Federal government seeking a resolution to this long tem ignored state of affairs.
    Copies to Dr Richard Di Natale Greens leader.
    “” ” ” ” Bill Shorten.
    ” ” ” ” Federal EPA authority
    ” ” ” ” ABC New Services
    ” ” ” ” Federal Health Department.

    Only by alerting a number of agencies will this concern of yours receive responses given that this is a matter affecting the bona fides of marine and fresh water aquaculture regulations then the failure of the State government to act upon your complaint.
    Then that the inactions of this State government has seen this matter become a state-wide ballooning health and environment catastrophe.

    Therefore your now resort is your correspondence call on the Federal level that there has been very poor concern shown by this State government to deal with the fish faeces fallout throughout many of Tasmania’ inland and marine waters.

  26. Slutface

    March 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Re #5. I changed my name on your recommendation. Hope you like the improvement?

    Re faceb***k. (better not type in the full name again for fear of consequences) I just use this occasionally but definitely am not enough of a fan to cross share anything with it and TT, so don’t know how that happened

    Please persevere and don’t let the bastards get you down!

  27. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 11:03 am

    #6 Thanks Helen – now I am scared.

    The locals drink water direct from this river. On day one we did also but my wife suffered a giardia infection. So installed a whole of house filtration system – cartridge, carbon and a 24/7 ultra violet light to burn any bugs.

    HAC have told us they do not use hormones or antibiotics in their hatchery – should I believe them?

    DHHS tell us no river water in Tasmania is safe for drinking.

  28. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I’ve been lying awake since 5am this morning from when the first of the 144 heavy tanker truck movements carrying smolt drove around our 5 acre property this morning, double clutch changing gears and revving their engines.

    In an email yesterday from HAC Environmental Manager Adam Chapman after I let him no there is nothing neighbour friendly or considerate about truck movements from 5am to 7pm over four days – and we are oldies after all (not “old farts” Charles – no money) he said:

    “Huon continues to operate the hatchery in compliance with its EPN and wider regulatory framework and also tries to work cooperatively with our neighbours.

    As part of our transfer protocol, the transport company we use will refrain from the use of air brakes and has been asked to drive slowly and responsibly when entering and exiting the Lonnavale township to further reduce potential noise from the vehicles.”

    More rhetoric from the Huon Aquaculture Company.

  29. Geoffrey Swan

    March 22, 2017 at 10:44 am

    #8 Yep.. it appears IP is transferred to the Senate and in this case put into the bottom drawer.

    Letter from Christine McDonald, Senate Secretary 21 August 2015

    “All submissions to Senate inquiries become committee documents upon receipt and are made public only after a decision by the Committee.

    The Committee has considered your supplementary submission and agreed to receive it as confidential evidence.

    The Committee’s decision means that the supplementary submission will not be published on the Committee’s website but it will form part of the inquiry’s records.

    You must not release your supplementary submission without the authority of the Committee.

    Any unauthorised publication may constitute a contempt of the Senate.”

    Naturally I appealed to the Clerk of the Senate, Ms Rosemary Laing, and received an email with bright yellow highlighting over this section:

    I have advised you otherwise, previously:
    There is no external department or authority that has any role in inquiring into how the Senate and its committees perform their duties. The Senate and its committees are self-policing.

    No other body has any jurisdiction to “police” the Senate and its committees, including the courts, the government, the Governor-General, the Ombudsman, the United Nations etc.

    This is how the law of parliamentary privilege operates. The only absolute right of freedom of speech belongs to the Parliament. See section 16, Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987.”


    Wrote to Senator Parry about this in February after I noted his interest in the Dover Mussels stuff with Tassal and the same Senate Inquiry .. nothing from his office whatsoever.

  30. Factfinder

    March 22, 2017 at 2:39 am

    More strategic news from Kiwiland:

    “… the introduction of the pet food range had been “fantastic” for the company, not only from a revenue point of view, but also from an employment and environmental perspective.”

    “He said at current production they had approximately 600 tonnes of input materials suitable for further processing and had increased use of these materials to approximately 250 tonnes.

    With early sales targets being met and a North Island launch imminent, the company’s immediate focus was showcasing their product at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, beginning on March 22.

    Alongside similar events in Brussels and Las Vegas, the Orlando event is one of the biggest pet expos in the world, with more than 1000 companies featuring 13 football fields’ worth of pet products, more than 3000 product-launches and 150 first-time exhibiting companies.

    “It’s a bit of a scoping exercise – we’re also wanting to make inroads with other people working in the market – it’s a $50 billion industry in North America, so over there you don’t need too much of a market share to be doing alright,” Thomas said.

    NZ King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne hoped the Orlando visit would give a strong indication of the brand’s international standing, and prove that Omega Plus was a world-leading pet food in terms of nutritional value.

    “The quality, we think, is the number one of its kind in the world and we’ll find out in Orlando when we’re making our big claim if anyone can come near it,” he said.”

    Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/90404043/king-salmon-taking-pet-food-foray-to-us

  31. Steve

    March 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    #5; Interested in your point #7. Can you be in contempt of the senate for publishing your own information? Genuinely interested as I would have thought the IP was yours. Do you surrender rights when you put in a submission?

  32. Alison Bleaney

    March 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    This is citizens science- direct observation and recording of events along time. Pity that EPA can’t follow through on some of their own proposals, but their position is untenable.
    Who is really looking out for the health of water catchments and ecosystems? Anyone in Government?

  33. Helen Walne

    March 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Do we ever really know what’s in our soils, waterways and foods? Your article Geoffrey (Swan) is so revealing and quite frankly, a very sad indictment on the philosophy of business people trading off our environment. It’s a case of “they don’t know, or do they? But, they don’t want to know”!
    I am aware of a former resident of our valley being rushed to hospital on holiday in Canberra with a suspected heart attack – after much pathology it was found he was suffering with poisoning – a later scientific investigation revealed to be toxins from a local water source near his home. No doubt built up over years of agri-use.
    Now business is polluting the oceans and clever people who contribute scientific information are being swept aside and ridiculed. Oh yes, it’s Tasmania!

  34. Geoffrey Swan

    March 21, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    #3 thank you “slutface” not to be confused I guess with “smutface” on another post? (another terrible Moniker)

    And thank you so much for sharing on your Facebook. Brief responses

    1. TT is an excellent medium but on this occasion given the Mercury had the Frances Bender article on March 11, I wrote to them first about a right of reply and the Editor was most generous in publishing my article on Tuesday.

    2. Been angry on an off over the past 9 years.. also far too emotional in some of my letter writing.. slowly learning.

    3. Been there and done all of that – failed indeed so far – though Airlie Ward ABC has covered this story twice already, and Sally Glaetzer Mercury.

    4. Don’t do Facebook. (yet in the early 80’s I led the way in my field using early model PC’s)

    5. December 2015 – 157 supporters but no Change https://www.change.org/p/director-inland-fisheries-john-diggle-director-environment-protection-agency-wes-ford-premier-tasmania-hon-will-hodgman-close-down-old-aquaculture-flow-through-ponds-in-tasmania-now

    6. Will not stop until I am 6 feet under – this river must be saved. Sabotage – others have spoken of such things but that is not for me – I keep hoping “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

    7. Tried and failed so far. Have presented graphs, numbers, compelling evidence – but ignored. Even the recent Senate Inquiry took one of my submissions into confidence only, would not publish it on their website, and warned me if I published I would be in contempt of the Senate.

    So thanks to freedom of speech I will continue!!

  35. Clive Stott

    March 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    A bit more poo wouldn’t be obvious in the Tamar River.

    Maybe these fish farms would actually clean up the Tamar River 😉

  36. Slutface

    March 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    This is the most challenging kind of article on TT – a very well documented systematically researched report, with a serious problem reported, but going nowhere so far! This could be any of us with local issues.

    Pretty straightforward really in that no ethical issues, just bureaucratic intransigence, which is in itself probably caused by the need for local Councils to protect jobs as much as possible and to juggle and balance environmental issues with economic prosperity issues?

    How to react for maximum effect then? This is the $64,000 question for our time as it is applicable to so many similar and equivalent situations.

    I don’t have definitive answers, just a few totally inadequate suggestions: –

    1. Writing on the amazing TT, as you did, is the obvious first step.

    2. Getting really angry is probably helpful for achieving your goal, but not helpful for your health.

    3. Writing to politicians, government department heads, the press media and potentially influential friends is potentially helpful, but I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting significant positive results.

    4. Social media is probably a great venue for expressing your frustrations (e.g facebook* and commenting on various blogs)

    5. Starting a petition, such as easily done on Change.org is dead easy and definitely worth a try

    6. Keep plugging away. Don’t give up. Keep writing to bureaucrats without expecting much in the way of serious response. Try some sabotage or serious active opposition if you have the nerve.

    7. Most importantly, persevere in repeatedly genuinely presenting and discussing your case with Government scientists. Don’t get angry with them. Be patient and thorough with your analytical results. Don’t make careless mistakes in your calculations. Be patient and objective.

    (*Article has been shared on Facebook)

  37. Pete Godfrey

    March 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Geoffrey, rather than the salmon farmers being environmental warriors, this may be more about backside covering.
    If the companies are held responsible for the damage that they have done to Macquarie Harbour then they would have to do the work to remediate the waterway.
    If they can prove that the regulators have failed then they would be absolved from responsibility.
    I believe this is more about avoiding responsibility and avoiding being sued and having to pay up.
    An attempt at getting the people of Tasmania to clean up their mess as has happened on many mining legacy sites.
    Just my belief anyway.

  38. john hayward

    March 21, 2017 at 10:21 am

    It appears that the EPA has been cornered into finally admitting that any Tasmanian commercial entity solvent enough to contribute to the LibLabs enjoys an absolute priority over any environmental consideration, regardless of its economic importance to the state.

    The fabled immunity of forestry from reasonable environmental restrictions, expressed as self regulation, should be accepted as a precedent for any debauched Tasmanian government.

    John Hayward

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