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Extreme Weather Event - Damage to Salmon Pens

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tags: Floods, Fish Farms


Last Thursday there was extreme rainfall, floods and wild winds across southern Tasmania focused around Storm Bay and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Extreme weather events are expected to occur more frequently with our increasingly volatile climate system under real climate change. We have heard reports from multiple sources that salmon have escaped from broken nets with holes the size of trucks in them, including salmon with reported pilchard orthomyxovirus that may pose a biosecurity risk. Can you confirm whether up to 600 000 salmon have escaped from broken nets in southern Tasmanian waters? Can you confirm if you have asked the three companies to resubmit their operational plans for Storm Bay in light of these events?



Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I am very proud that Tasmanian aquaculture companies are at the forefront of the world in developing technologies and farming techniques in high-energy offshore environments. This is a good thing. The farming of Atlantic salmon in sea cages in offshore farming environments is challenging. As we heard from the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, we had a very unprecedented event occur in Tasmania.

While the recent storm event damaged infrastructure belonging to Huon Aquaculture and generated marine debris that was reported in some areas and was washed ashore, the Government is encouraged by the steps taken by the salmon companies in their responses to the events of 10 May. The Government will continue to support this industry through implementation of our sustainable industry plan to ensure that this industry grows and creates jobs in regional areas. The Government is the strongest supporter of the salmon industry.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, standing order 45, to relevance. I asked a specific question about whether the minister could confirm 600 000, not a puff piece.

Madam SPEAKER - The minister will be getting to that shortly.

Ms COURTNEY - Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Government is aware of the fact that there was some salmon debris found on shore and there was some damage to salmon pens because of this. We will continue to work with the salmon industry to make sure that any damage from the storms and any fish escapes that happened because of the storm will be addressed.