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Salmon Stock Plunge A Climate Change Warning

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 8 April 2016

Tags: Environment, Marine Environment, Okehampton Bay, Fish Farms

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

Tassal's 8% share price drop, and their announcement they'll walk away from two contracts with Coles and Simplot because of supply issues, raises serious questions about the government's ability to manage the long-term sustainability of our salmon industry.

East coast waters are warming 3-4 times faster than the global average, and are far warmer than they were 16 years ago. Despite this, Minister Rockliff has given his implicit approval for a production licence for over a million fish for Tassal to operate in Okehampton Bay, using a fishing lease that was granted in 2000.

East coast fishing communities are already battling with the effects of global warming on marine life. The Minister for Fisheries needs to regulate the salmon industry for the impacts of climate change, instead of the short-sighted, hands-off approach they have now.

Tassal cited warming waters damaging growing conditions as the reason for the company's downturn. Climate change is a harsh reality and the government should be doing all they can to help industries transition, rather than encouraging businesses to grow and then fail.

There are a lot of questions that need answering, including which Tasmanian waters have been warming so fast they can't sustain fish, and how can the Government allow the industry to be entirely self-regulated? 

Both the Premier and Minister Rockliff have attacked conservation groups and the Greens for questioning what impacts high stocking densities have on the marine environment.

Instead of attacking concerned conservationists, the Liberals should focus on protecting both the environment and the industries it sustains.