Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Marine Environment spokesperson
The expanded plans and greenwash of Tassal’s fish farm operations in Okehampton Bay won’t convince East Coast residents, or the wider Tasmanian community. This fish farm, backed in by Labor and the Liberals, isn’t wanted.
Additional mussels and seaweed around the pens in Okehampton Bay won’t mitigate the impacts of this industrial operation on the local community, recreational and commercial fishers, and the tourism industry.
The fish farm expansion into East Coast waters will have a lasting effect on the marine environment, no matter how Tassal or the government spins it.
The Greens encourage all scientific research into mitigating the damage of intensive fish farms on the marine environment. These trials, however, need to be undertaken in places where there is community support, not in waters that are highly valued by locals and other industries.
The East Coast community will be appalled to hear the Federal Liberal Government has refused to refer Tassal’s Okehampton Bay operations for EPBC Act assessment.
It’s impossible to understand how fish farm operations at Okehampton Bay can be deemed compliant without an assessment of their impacts on threatened species.
There’s been no examination of the impact on the migration of the Southern Right Whale or the World Heritage values of North Maria Island.
The Darlington Precinct on North Maria Island is a World Heritage Area with a zone that extends far out into the Mercury Passage. Noise, light, visual amenity, marine debris and other impacts of industrial fish farming on tourism and the World Heritage Area must all be assessed.
The Greens will be asking for a statement of reasons for the Federal Government’s refused to undertake an impact assessment, including why Tassal’s submission did not include reference to the importance of their 198m-long jetty infrastructure on their operations.
It’s hard to see Tassal’s announcement today as nothing more than greenwash, backed in by Labor and the Liberals – now at a Federal and State level. Tasmanians will see straight through it.