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Greater regulation, increased monitoring, more protection in Labor’s aquaculture plan

  • Independent Aquaculture Advisory Panel will review monitoring data, assess compliance
  • Greater accountability and compliance with environmental conditions for each individual lease
  • EPA resources to be bolstered to allow for increased regulation
  • We need to increase community and consumer confidence in Tasmanian products  

 Restoring Confidence in the Salmon Industry

A Majority Labor Government will introduce greater regulation and monitoring of salmon leases, review standards for environmental performance and boost the resources of the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the Tasmanian aquaculture industry is the world’s best environmental performer.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said it was critical to support jobs and sustainable growth in the salmon industry by improving the regulatory framework while minimising environmental impacts and ensuring the industry meets Tasmania’s high expectations.

“Aquaculture is a significant provider of permanent full time jobs in regional Tasmania at a time when we desperately need them,” Ms White said.

“But the Hodgman Liberal Government has eroded community trust in the industry with a lack of leadership and a lack of action that has led to a lack of certainty.

“A Majority Labor Government will provide certainty to the industry, to the community and to markets by strengthening independent regulation of the industry.

“We need to increase community and consumer confidence so the market for Tasmanian grown salmon and ocean trout products continues to grow.

Shadow Primary Industries Minister Shane Broad said the resources of the EPA would be boosted to allow its decisions to be based on independent expert advice.

“Currently the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel only assesses new leases and amendments to existing leases – it has no ongoing role in monitoring and compliance,” Dr Broad said.

Labor will:

  • Increase the scope of the MFPRP, reform its membership by including independent scientists on an Independent Aquaculture Advisory Panel and increase its powers to request and review monitoring data, assess compliance and provide independent expert advice to the EPA Director
  • Develop a robust biosecurity management plan for the aquaculture industry within 12 months
  • Review and recommend standards for environmental performance, wildlife management, water temperature, depth and stocking densities
  • Require finfish farms  to show they have taken all reasonable steps to minimise interactions with seals by locating pens in appropriate areas and installing pens that minimise seal interactions in prescribed areas by July 2019
  • Require the EPA to consider the recommendations of the Independent Aquaculture Advisory Panel when making decisions and publicly release individual lease monitoring data and give the EPA the power to impose environmental bonds
  • The EPA will conduct public consultation, independent of industry during the assessment process of new leases
  • Labor will commission a full independent review of Macquarie Harbour in order to develop a long term, evidenced-based plan for management of the harbour.

 

Dr Broad said Labor had already announced increased protections including the use of remote sensor technology to collect real time environmental data.

He said the frequency of seabed surveys should increase to quarterly in the first year for each new lease and then twice yearly thereafter, allowing swifter action for non-compliance.

“Tasmania’s three salmon companies have put forward proposals for salmon farming to expand their operations in Storm Bay, the far North West and King Island, with assessment of Storm Bay well advanced and the far North West and King Island at very preliminary stages.

“Labor is committed to assessing each new proposal on its merits based on our vision for the industry and a transparent and independent process.”

Restoring Confidence in the Salmon Industry