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Tassal’s “Off-Shore” Spin

17 Nov 2017

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Marine Environment spokesperson

Tassal’s so-called “commitment to Tasmania” in moving their operations apparently “off-shore” is simply a PR exercise. It seems to be designed to secure their share price and water down the intense public scrutiny of their activities, and the current court hearings.

What they are proposing is just to move from several tiny and environmentally damaged sites in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Huon Rivers, as they consolidate and intensify operations at Long Bay near Port Arthur. The Long Bay lease is 45m from the shore in a relatively shallow and unflushed bay.

Despite an implicit apology in Tassal’s statement about the environmental harm they caused in Macquarie Harbour, the company might “accept the lessons learned”, but clearly haven’t learnt from them.

If they had truly learnt their lesson from Macquarie Harbour and were prepared to meet community expectations, they’d abandon their expansion plans at Okehampton Bay.

Storm Bay is a massive 860ha of public waterway close to Wedge Island that is not oceanic, and is regarded by many boat users as “coastal”.

Tassal have vaguely described their plans as “more oceanic” and “further off-shore”. What it shows is a company that’s willing to put the gloss on any site it wants as ‘off-shore’ if it suits their corporate growth plan.

Tassal admitted earlier in the week their new feeding strategy will result in reduced roles. This leads to questions about the number of jobs involved in their Storm Bay operation.

Even fish farming companies themselves are acknowledging Tasmanians want salmon farms off-shore. What the government must provide is a transparent, legal process that enables people to have a say about what they want, and where they want it.  

Instead, this has taken place behind ministerial doors - over the course of successive Liberal and Labor Governments - hidden from the public using leases that are decades old.

The Hodgman Government is currently failing to regulate with the interests of people for the long-term. Tasmanians love and enjoy the marine environment, and they must be able to have a say about this huge corporate sea-grab.