*Pic: Flickr of fish farms in Macquarie Harbour

Neighbours of Fish Farming (NOFF) today adds its voice to growing community concern about Huon Aquaculture’s plans for hospital pens for its salmon in Norfolk Bay.

This comes on top of massive expansion plans of the State’s three big industrial caged fish farm companies into neighbouring Storm Bay

Spokesperson for NOFF, Dr Christine Materia, said Huon Aquaculture’s previously undisclosed plans to open the hospital pen for sick salmon in Norfolk Bay amounted to an ambush that threatens a wide range of marine life including a shark nursery.

She said reports that the plans commenced in secrecy more than a year ago and only then revealed in public were a cause for alarm.

“Without any form of public consultation with affected communities and industries, Huon Aquaculture is intending to commence operations in Norfolk Bay this week.

“Norfolk Bay is an environmentally sensitive area that includes a shark nurser. We have absolutely no confidence in this government or the industry that appropriate and essential environmental impact assessments have been undertaken”

NOFF’s objections add to those of community groups on the Tasman Peninsular, which are affected by the move.

Dr Materia said Huon Aquaculture’s expansion plans into Storm Bay, allied to similar proposals by TASSAL and Petuna Seafoods, were already causing widespread unease.

“NOFF joins with the three Bruny island community groups that have joined together to make strong objections to the expansion plans,” Dr Materia said.

She said NOFF supported the thrust of the Bruny Island groups’ statement that: 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.”

Dr Materia said increasing community concern, along with the fears of wild fishers about the potential destruction of their industry from industrial caged fish farm expansion, had prompted a diverse group of community members and industry to plan a state-wide alliance of many groups from the south of the state to King Island in the north.

“Along with many of these groups, NOFF calls for an immediate moratorium on all expansion of fish farm pens in the state until Tasmanians are reassured that the proper scientific and environmental controls will protect the State’s marine resources,” Dr Material said.