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EPA Report Confirms Macquarie Harbour Environmental Catastrophe

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tags: Environment, Fish Farms, Macquarie Harbour, Marine Environment, Threatened Species, Oxygen Levels

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The EPA's monitoring data report for salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour is not surprising. It won't be news to anyone who watched the Four Corners' exposé of Tasmania's salmon industry.

The EPA reported the impact of salmon farm excrement remains "visually significant" at compliance areas 35 metres away from the exterior of lease sites.

Water quality monitoring shows that levels of dissolved oxygen in the deeper parts of the Harbour have remained low for the majority of this year, and some areas have now dropped to "very low levels".  This is dire for all marine life in Macquarie Harbour.

The viability of Macquarie Harbour's ecosystem is threatened by the increase in high-density salmon farming that's occurred in recent years.  It's bad news for every species in the Harbour, including the threatened Maugean Skate, which need oxygen to survive.

We are seeing exactly the environmental catastrophe that industry players warned was coming. Those warnings to a national media were ignored and publicly dismissed as "competitive tensions" by Primary Industries' Minister, Jeremy Rockliff.

The current level of farmed salmon is less than the biomass cap the Minister approved, but evidently still too high for the healthy function of Macquarie Harbour's marine environment.

The Minister made a decision to approve even greater levels of intensive fish farming early this year, despite concerns expressed by Huon Aquaculture.  He's clearly put politics far ahead of science.

If the government is serious about protecting the industry and its jobs for the long-term, Minister Rockliff must put a moratorium on new salmon farm approvals and lease expansions until an independent process is established.  This is what consumers need to remain confident they're buying an authentic clean, green branded product.