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ASC Fish Farm Stamp of Approval Flawed

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 26 August 2016

Tags: Fish Farms, East Coast, Okehampton Bay, Macquarie Harbour, Oxygen Levels

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council team’s recommendation that Petuna Seafoods gets a “good stewardship” credit for their Macquarie Harbour fish farms is deeply flawed.

The ASC stamp of approval is despite many non-compliances, no independent testing, and inconsistencies with publically available data elsewhere. They didn't talk to environmental stakeholders, and only relied on data supplied by the company itself.

Tasmanian salmon farmers have been handed an ASC loophole that means they don’t have to provide information about the water’s dissolved oxygen levels. This is incredibly alarming for our marine environment.

A 2016 Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies report on the endangered Maugean Skate found that, “the environmental health of Macquarie Harbour, in particular implications of low dissolved oxygen concentrations, represents a major threat to the species”.

Even the State Government’s own report from last year found a “harbour-wide decline” in dissolved oxygen levels.

Reduced oxygen levels as a result of fish farms are an acknowledged problem. Ignoring that science makes a mockery of the ASC stamp of approval.

The ASC certification process being used to give Tasmanian fish farms an environmental licence is flawed. It also raises serious questions for the Government about the assessment process for Okehampton Bay.

If Minister for Fisheries, Jeremy Rockliff, truly believes Tasmanian fish farms are the best regulated in the world, he needs to take note of the problems with the ASC assessment process.

When it comes to Okehampton Bay and the East Coast, the ASC approach won’t wash with the local community or environment groups.