open letter: restore order to the salmon industry
Tasmanians have lost all faith in the government's ability to regulate the salmon industry.
In this climate of mistrust, the government and its regulators must be open and make decisions based on solid scientific foundations.
The disaster of one million fish deaths in Macquarie Harbour was enabled by the government allowing an increase in salmon numbers when the harbour was at breaking point (“adaptive management”).
The government and industry are about to repeat their mistakes in Storm Bay, only a few kilometres from Hobart and many of Tassie’s beaches, fishing grounds and communities.
The solution is independent regulation, underpinned by rigorous science and strong enforcement.
The Macquarie Harbour disaster must not be repeated, our island is too valuable to suffer abuse at that scale again. The government must listen to the community, commercial abalone, rock lobster and scale fishers, tourism operators and recreational fishers.
I call on the government to:
1. Complete truly independent baseline water quality and environmental studies, before any environmental licenses are issued (not an “adaptive management” approach).
2. Require all fish farming licenses and license amendments to be referred to the EPA board so that the community can have a say on this issue of significant public interest.
3. Commission an independent review of the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel, focusing on its governance and ties to industry.
Addressed To: Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, and Minister for the Environment.
CC: Secretary DPIPWE, Director and Board Environmental Protection Authority Tasmania.
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