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Mussel Farmer is Marine Canary in Mine

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tags: Wild Fisheries

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff must commit to an open door policy for all aquaculture stakeholders, including those who are raising concerns over the impact of current fish farms, and introduce an immediate moratorium on any further expansion of salmon farms while environmental concerns are examined, Greens Leader Kim Booth MP said today.

“Despite repeated requests to meet with the Minister over the impacts of salmon farming on his business, local operator, Mr Warwick Hastwell, of Dover Day Mussels has not been successful,” Mr Booth said.

“Minister Rockliff must undertake to meet with Mr Hastwell as a matter of urgency, and hear him out.”

“This was a successful business farming a native mussel in its natural environment which has been so adversely affected by changes in that natural environment, to the extent of experiencing a 70 percent losses in mussel production. The business has now been forced to lay off workers, and is in effect closed.”

“The Hodgman government has been effusive in its support of the salmon industry, even to the point of demonising those who speak out about environmental impacts as ‘anti-everything’, yet turn a deaf ear to other aquaculture businesses which have a different story to tell.”

 “There are clearly serious environmental issues occurring in the Huon River and D’entrecasteaux Channel which do not benefit any local seafood businesses, mussels, abalone, oyster or salmon, if they are ignored.”

“This mussel business is the marine equivalent of a canary in a mine, and its warnings need to be heard.”

“The Minister needs to talk to all players to get a comprehensive picture, and not play favourites.”

“Minister Rockliff also needs to institute an immediate moratorium on the expansion of fish farms until these serious issues of environmental impact are independently investigated and addressed.”

“A closed door policy for small operators and an open door policy for larger players is unacceptable.  The Greens urge Minister Rockliff to meet with Dover Bay Mussels urgently, and hear them out in good faith.”

“Unlike some in the forestry industry, Mr Hastwell is not looking for a financial pay-out, he is looking for answers,” Mr Booth said.