News the last two salmon companies left farming in Macquarie Harbour are pre-emptively removing their Aquaculture Stewardship Council eco-branding from products as we head into a hot El Niño summer is not surprising – especially given 1.35 million fish died there last year.
If it exists, the Environment Minister must release the science that shows the high nutrient load from salmon waste this summer won’t cause harbour oxygen levels to decrease further.
The public, including consumers, can’t have confidence in this industry if it’s not transparent.
It is mischievous for Petuna to claim catastrophically low oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour have “nothing to do with the way in which we operate our marine farms.”
The increasing volumes and high intensity of salmon farming have caused dead zones and damaged World Heritage values. These are all facts established by multiple scientific reports.
Given the companies appear fully appraised of this summer’s risk for their product and reputation, the public must be given the same information.
Minister Archer should demand the EPA provide her, and the Tasmanian people, with evidence and modelling of the harbour conditions for the upcoming summer.
If the salmon farming industry is to continue with any public confidence, everyone should be aware of the expected low oxygen levels, and effect on the marine environment, including endangered species such as the Maugean skate.