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Salmon survey shows Liberals lacking in leadership

  • Government must work to unite communities
  • It is possible to support jobs and industry while looking after the environment
  • Labor policy addresses key areas of community concern

A survey showing that a third of all Tasmanians have concerns about the regulation of the Tasmanian Salmon industry is a reflection of the poor leadership shown by the Liberal Government in the issue, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Rebecca White said.

The EMRS survey, released today, asked 1000 Tasmanians: “Thinking now about the Tasmanian salmon industry, do you personally agree or disagree that the Tasmanian salmon industry is well regulated?”

Thirty-five per cent agreed, 36 per cent disagreed and 29 per cent were unsure.

Ms White said that better leadership from the Liberals would ensure that people could better understand that it was possible to support jobs and industry while looking after the environment.

“The Hodgman Liberal Government has eroded trust in the sector by failing to provide leadership and created uncertainty about jobs in the industry,” Ms White said.

“This is particularly reflected in the community discussion about Okehampton Bay.

“Labor has always been a strong supporter of the salmon industry.

“We have always respected the independent science around fish farming and we accept the Marine Farm Planning Review Panel’s decision on Okehampton Bay.

“But, in recognition of growing community interest in the regulation of the salmon industry, we believe the Okehampton lease should be subject to the most stringent environmental regulations and oversight.

“There should also be a phase-in period of 12 months of these new measures for all existing leases.”

Ms White said measures that should be imposed on the Okehampton lease and all new salmon leases include:

  • Maximum stocking densities be reviewed and assessed based on individual leases, rather than a body of water, ensuring greater accountability and compliance with environmental conditions for each individual lease
  • Stocking densities be reviewed to include assessment of net depth and tonnes of fish per farmed hectare
  • Remote sensor technology be used to collect real time environmental data that can be provided to the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) for reporting to the Regulator each quarter and published online
  • The resources of the EPA be increased to allow them to adequately regulate the salmon industry
  • The frequency of surveys of the seabed increase to quarterly for each new lease for the first year and twice a year for every year following, allowing the Regulator to act more swiftly in the event of non-compliance

“Labor would also use international best practice to inform the development of a robust biosecurity management plan for the industry and provide opportunities for new investment to be made using the latest technology and innovation,” Ms White said.

“Labor will also require Finfish licences that have been in abeyance for more than 10 years to undergo a full environmental assessment prior to new applications being considered.

“Labor’s policy will continue to support jobs in the salmon industry and support companies to grow sustainably while also improving the regulatory framework in which they operate so they meet the high expectations Tasmanians have of any industry doing business in this state.

“Labor will act to provide certainty to the industry, to the community and to markets.”