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Real Assessment or Fish Farm Free East Coast

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Tags: Fish Farms, Okehampton Bay, Environment, Marine Environment, Whistleblowers, Oxygen Levels

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The baseline data for Okehampton Bay shared publicly by aquaculture industry owner, Rowan Armitage, is the last nail in the coffin for the planned East Coast fish farm expansion.

The Hodgman Government now has no option but to put an end to their charade assessment process, and formally reject this development.

There's no point going ahead with a greenwash. The East Coast community need a real assessment, or nothing at all.

Mr Armitage is the original salmon farm lease owner for the Okehampton Bay site. He's bravely come forward and released information that confirms Okehampton Bay is a body of water completely unsuited to fish farming.

His baseline data shows the waters of Okehampton Bay are too warm and too still for farming. This Bay doesn't have strong enough currents to disperse fish farm excrement, and there would be a serious impact on water oxygen levels.

Mr Armitage commissioned an environmental survey when he was planning a fish farm one-third the size of what’s being proposed now, but he abandoned the development when he saw the results.

Mr Armitage cautioned that the likely 3,000 tonnes of fish waste falling into the clear water and onto the beautiful white sand of Okehampton Bay's sea floor every year would be devastating. He has also raised concerns of blue-green algal bloom increases, and stresses on fish leading to more disease.

The Marine Farming Planning Review Panel have said they'll reject any submissions that comment on social or tourism impacts, or other commercial fishing operations, when they assess the Okehampton Bay proposal.

They say they want to hear views about the environmental science and the baseline survey, but until Mr Armitage acted as a whistleblower, the data has not been publicly available.

The Hodgman Government's so-called assessment of the Okehampton Bay proposal is a make-believe community consultation.

Primary Industries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, has been trumpeting the world class regulatory processes of fish farming in Tasmania, but the East Coast community can see straight through it.

Minister Rockliff must do the industry a favour and regulate them for success, through transparent processes and a rigorous scientific and social assessment, or walk away from Okehampton Bay.