The Australia Institute report into aquaculture and fishing in Tasmania released today highlights how severely the government has undervalued the contribution of the shellfish and wild-catch fish industries. It’s destructive for the Hodgman Government to continue to play favourites with the salmon industry above – and at the cost of – others.
Without strong laws to protect the marine environment, and the livelihoods it sustains, the interests of all communities that use and value our oceans are now at high risk.
The Australian Institute’s research reveals the non-salmon fishing seafood industries employ over 1,926 people every year, compared to a maximum of 1000 people employed in salmon farming. Recreational fishing, and the shore-based jobs these fishers support across Tasmania, make a substantial contribution to jobs outside the salmon industry.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s formal ‘Red listing’ of the Tasmanian salmon industry, given the sustained damage to Macquarie Harbour marine environment from intensive fish farming, should be a clarion call to the Liberals to act.
The salmon industry won’t self-regulate to address the concerns from scientists, neighbours, and other fish industries about their unsustainable practices, and the government can’t keep backing them in with their eyes closed.
To get this right for the marine environment, and other seafood industries, the Hodgman Government must intervene and reverse the damage to Tasmania’s clean, green brand that can only worsen if the salmon industry doubles in size under existing regulations.
The Australia Institute report makes it clear, the jobs and productivity that non-salmon fishers – both companies and individuals – bring to our state are critical.
If the Premier and acting-Primary Industries Minister won’t listen to communities and conservationists about the negative effects of unrestrained industrial fish farming, we hope he can see backing one industry to the detriment all others can only lead to disaster.