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EPA Modelling Fails Macquarie Harbour, Tasmanian Waterways at Risk

23 Mar 2018

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Marine Environment spokesperson

The Director of the Environment Protection Authority has admitted modelling of salmon farming impacts on Macquarie Harbour is “flat wrong”, which begs the question of where else across Tasmania their modelling has also been unsuccessful.

The recent fish disease outbreaks, hundreds of thousands of fish deaths, and years-long lack of oxygen in the harbour speak of a regulatory system that has utterly failed the marine environment and the salmon industry it could support.

Macquarie Harbour is the canary that’s dying in the coal mine.

The EPA’s risk assessments and modelling are the same they use to regulate salmon farming in the Huon and D’Entrecasteaux. Those local communities have been reporting a dead sea floor and loss of native marine life in those waterways for at least a decade.

Successive Liberal and Labor governments have been deaf to the local evidence, and refused to engage independent science. With a massive expansion underway on the East Coast, in Storm Bay and the North West, there is an urgent need for a moratorium on all new operations.

Macquarie Harbour has paid the ultimate price of a risk management approach that puts marine environment protection behind salmon companies’ profits and short-term interests.

If the marine environment is to be protected, and the industry that relies upon it to succeed in the long term, there needs to be an opportunity to establish a risk assessment system that is based on the precautionary principle, and for the community to have a real say.