The Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Whish-Wilson, has put forward a motion in the Senate to establish an Inquiry into the sustainability, impacts and regulation of Tasmania's fish farms.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, "The leaked reports and emails about the de-oxygenation of Macquarie Harbour was a wake-up call about the potential impacts of this industry on marine ecosystems and raises questions on the future sustainability of fish farming in Tasmania.
"However, the response from both the state and federal government, and the industry itself has obscured the issue rather than shed further light on it.
"If the growth of salmon farms is damaging the environment then the regulators need to be acting to protect the environment, not acting to protect the industry from scrutiny.
"In 2012, expansion of the salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour was decided to be 'not a controlled action' under the Federal EPBC Act. However, this was under the proviso there would be no impact on the bottom-dwelling endangered Maugean Skate.
"Given the revelations of de-oxygenation it is clear that the extent of Federal oversight needs to be re-examined. A Senate Inquiry is the appropriate forum to thoroughly examine this issue.
"The Greens are seeking this Senate Inquiry to bring some transparency and openness into the sustainability and regulation of Tasmania's salmon farms.
"If the Salmon industry has nothing to hide they will support this inquiry and use it as an opportunity to openly address community concerns and fears of environmental damage.
"If we are successful in establishing the Inquiry I expect it would require a day's hearing each in Hobart and in Strahan.
"Fish farming in Tasmania is growing at a rapid rate, we need to have confidence in the industry's regulation to ensure growth is sustainable and doesn't damage the Tasmanian brand or the environment," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.
Media contact: Tim Beshara 0409164603
Terms of Reference
That the Senate refer the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 10 August 2015:
The regulation of the fin-fish aquaculture industry in Tasmania, with particular reference to the:
· adequacy of available data about waterway health
· adequacy of current planning and regulatory mechanisms
· interaction of state and federal laws and regulation
· impact on threatened and endangered species and waterway health
· any other relevant matters.