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Wild Fish Protections AWOL

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Tags: Fish Farms

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

Leaked photos of hundreds of wild fish trapped and killed in a Tasmanian salmon farm are yet another example of the concerning environmental impacts of this industry, and the lack of effective regulations and oversight under the Liberal Government.

These photos reveal the impact of just one salmon farm at one point in time, but we understand wild fish deaths are widespread and common. Unfortunately this is entirely unsurprising, given existing evidence that salmon farming also causes the suffering and death of seals, dolphins and sea birds too.

Fish farm operators have no licence to catch wild fish, yet that’s exactly what they’re doing. These photos document hundreds of fish at a time being killed without authorisation or record, and with apparently no concern from regulatory authorities.

Under the Liberals, there’s one rule for ordinary Tasmanians, and another for powerful industries. If a recreational fisher was to do something like this, government agencies would rightly come down on them like a tonne of bricks. However, fish farm operators are allowed to go about their business with impunity, no matter the impact on wild fish populations.

This is exactly the behaviour the Environment Protection Authority should be preventing, but we have almost never seen any enforcement actions. Instead of protecting Tasmania’s waterways, the EPA acts as if its role is to maintain the regularity of market supply for the fish farm industry.

Evidence of the salmon farm industry’s negative environmental impacts continues to accumulate, yet the Liberal and Labor parties seem intent on out doing each other to do the industry’s bidding.

The Tasmanian clean and green brand has been hard-won, but must be authentic to remain credible. Without independent and strong protection for the environment, we risk losing irreplaceable natural values as well as consumer confidence.