What this industry does, really matters

‘Blind Freddy’ can see the degredation of once pristine coastal areas in Tasmanian waters, increasing levels of community disquiet and the steady decline in the productivity of our wild fisheries where inshore, estuarine fish farms have proliferated, these past 30 years.

The forefathers of this industry could not have known this would happen, these are unintended consequences. But now that we have 30 years of  graphic evidence and an environmental disaster unfolding in Macquarie Harbour driven by ‘self regulation’ which has been spectacularly abused, the cargo cult mentality driving ‘grow this industry to a $1Billion sector of the Tasmanian economy’ MUST stop for a rain check – if we are to achieve sustainable growth, restore trust and allow communities to learn to co habit with the industry, under a social license.

The present Government 2030 growth plan needs to be reworked in consultation with the community, wherever these farms might be proposed in the future and until it is, community resistance to industrial scale salmon farming will continue to spread and ferment, state wide.

Make no mistake about it – the Tasmanian aquaculture sector is an important industry for our state. But so are our wild fisheries both commercial and recreational which I am advised are already a $1B industry combined yet I hear few voices speaking for those families.

The damage ammonia rich effluent flows and nutrient laden blooms travelling in suspension on the tides from inshore fish farms are doing to native fishery resources in Southern Tasmania is not properly understood and is a critical matter for science, independent of fish farm vested interests, to establish as we learn more about managing and protecting these natural resources for the future and the Tasmanians who depend upon them.

We MUST have independently verified base data before we allow such grand scale industry growth and do permanent damage to the ecology of our magnificent coastal waters.