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Tasmania's Oceans at Significant Risk from Acidification

Parliamentary Activity - Tuesday, 3 May 2016, Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP to move—

That the House:—

(1)           Notes that hundreds of marine scientists from around the world are currently gathered in Hobart at the 4thInternational Congress in a High-Carbon Dioxide World Symposium.

(2)           Acknowledges that:—

(a)           ocean acidification is occurring faster than at any time in the past 50 million years; and

(b)           this increase in acidification is caused by human induced carbon dioxide emissions.

(3)           Understands impacts of ocean acidification include:—

(a)           the reduced ability of shellfish, corals and other marine organisms to grow, reproduce and build their shells and skeletons as well as;

(b)           impacts on other species that eat shellfish and coral or use them for habitat.

(4)           Recognises that Tasmania relies heavily on coastal fisheries, including those of oyster, mussel, abalone and lobster, which could struggle to survive as ocean acidification causes their shells to dissolve, with thinner weaker shells making them more vulnerable to predators.  

(5)           Notes the concerns of the Tasmanian Abalone Council of the impacts of climate change on their industry, with the current marine heatwave dwarfing previous warm water events, killing stock and reducing some divers’ expected earnings by half.

(6)           Understands that marine ecosystems on the east coast are also facing future pressures from the expansion of fish farms with open-cage salmon farming having harmful aquaculture production systems that expose local ecosystems to: nutrient loading, oxygen depletion, toxic algae blooms, disease and parasites, contamination from chemical treatments, marine debris, farm waste including tens of thousands of tonnes of fish manure, urine and uneaten feed; antibiotics, vaccines and pesticides; and escaped fish.

(7)           Acknowledges that, when combined, ocean acidification, warming waters, overfishing, marine pollution and  land pressures, place the future of Tasmania’s marine environment, existing fishing industries and the local communities that depend on them, in a precarious position.

(8)           Calls on the Government to investigate the impact of ocean acidification on Tasmania’s marine environment and seafood industries, and how those impacts are compounded by warming waters, marine pollution, and fish farming.