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Petuna Plan an Admission of Regulation Failure

17 Mar 2017

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Marine Environment spokesperson

Petuna Aquaculture’s public call for the EPA to create individual lease-level stocking limits is an admission that the government’s regulatory system is not fair, and is failing to protect Macquarie Harbour.

As it stands, there’s no incentive for companies to farm salmon at sustainable levels because their competitors can overstock without any penalty.

A 'harbour-wide biomass cap’ is unenforceable, and requires cooperation between companies. That's not the way commerce operates - businesses are out to make money, it's the role of government to regulate.

At the moment, companies continue to massively overstock their leases, exceed the collective biomass cap, and gain a commercial advantage.

Lack of regulation has left Macquarie Harbour in environmental crisis, with dead zones under salmon leases and damage to the World Heritage values.  Tassal haven't been penalised for not destocking their Franklin lease when ordered by the EPA, or the associated damage to the TWWHA.

The Hodgman Government’s “tough” reforms brought in last year were an empty political gesture. They diluted an effective demerit point system, and added some relatively small fines.

Most breaches of the Marine Farming Planning Act by salmon companies from 2006 to 2012 were not enforced.  Fines were rarely imposed, and if they were, seldom exceeded $500.

A demerit point scheme should disqualify companies that cause environmental damage from holding a farm licence when they reach a threshold.  

Just like on Tasmanian roads where there are punishments for dangerous driving, there’s little incentive to change salmon farming practices unless a company loses demerit points for environmental damage.

Petuna's plan calls on the government to implement one of the only mechanisms that holds fish farm operators to account.  It's up to the Liberal Government to listen to the community, and industry, and properly regulate salmon farming in Tasmania.