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Liberals Refuse to Rule Out Watering Down Macquarie Harbour License Conditions

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tags: Macquarie Harbour, Fish Farms, Marine Environment

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Marine Environment spokesperson

The Minister for Primary Industries refused to commit to not changing laws or licence conditions, again, to help Tassal comply with an Aquaculture Stewardship Council order in Question Time today.

The ASC, a global body, identified 19 non-compliances by Tassal with their fish farming practices in Macquarie Harbour. Four were major, and include failing to comply with state and federal laws, presenting mortality reports to auditors, having an effective mechanism for community complaints, and meeting basic fish welfare conditions.

Last year dorvillied worms, a pollution indicator species, were found 7.5kms away from fish farm sites.

At that time, Minister Rockliff stepped in to protect companies from breaching their licence conditions, removing the requirement to monitor dorvilleids from all Macquarie Harbour Marine Farming licence conditions.

A recent IMAS report revealed dead zones under two of Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour leases. Data collected in January this year confirmed the harbour's animal numbers and species abundance have not improved, and have even declined at one lease.

The ASC have given Tassal 90 days to fix their breaches, or the ASC stamp of approval will be removed from their salmon products.  They recognise the quality of their certification brand is only as good as the rules they enforce.

The Hodgman Government spend a lot of time talking up Tasmania's clean green brand. Without proper oversight and regulation, that brand is directly threatened. 

Without minimal environmental protections the Harbour's marine environment and world heritage values will be more damaged than they are already. 

By refusing to rule out interfering in Macquarie Harbour licence conditions once again, Minister Rockliff is putting the marine species that rely on the harbour for survival, as well as the reputation of the salmon farming industry and the jobs it provides, at risk.