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EPA Biomass Reduction an Indictment on Labor and Liberals

30 Nov 2016

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Environment spokesperson

The EPA's plan to reduce the number of farmed salmon in Macquarie Harbour by a third is a desperate attempt to save the marine life and farms in that basin from total collapse.  That imminent collapse is an indictment on both Labor and the Liberals.

It's an eleventh-hour drastic intervention by the EPA.  We sincerely hope it's not too little, too late for the Maugean Skate, fish farm jobs in Strahan, and the whole industry's reputation. 

The EPA's planned biomass cap reduction in Macquarie Harbour shows how bad a job Minister Rockliff has done protecting the environment and jobs in the industry.

Minister Rockliff and his hand-picked Marine Farming Planning Review Panel have consistently approved industry expansions, despite all the scientific evidence against them.  Mr Rockliff also dismissed Huon Aquaculture's public concerns about management of dissolved oxygen in the Harbour as "competitive tensions".

Tasmanians can't trust Minister Rockliff to continue to hold the power to approve new fish farm leases and expansions.  He ignored industry advice about the looming disaster in Macquarie Harbour three times, and instead of acting responsibly, he increased the biomass cap twice in the last two years.

The EPA now has the dirty job of trying to mop up the mess Minister Rockliff's and his predecessors made in Macquarie Harbour.

In-house management and political interference in salmon farm approvals have been a toxic mix in Tasmania.  If the State's salmon industry is to prosper, it must be handled independently.

Today's decision by the EPA reinforces the need for the Hodgman Government to place a moratorium on fish farm approvals and expansions until they are moved into the independent resource management planning system.