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Tasmanian Atlantic salmon industry expansion approved

A decision by the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, to approve the expansion of the salmon industry on the west coast has been welcomed by the industry.

Petuna Farm in Tasmania
The Federal Minister’s decision follows approval by the Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Bryan Green, in June after his office received a recommendation from the independent Marine Farm Planning Review Panel.

The environmental assessment conducted for Macquarie Harbour was the most extensive ever undertaken in Tasmania for a marine farming development. An Environmental Impact Statement, underpinned by scientific data, sampling, modelling and local community consultation, supported the application. The industry also has more than 20 years of experience responsibly farming in Macquarie Harbour to call upon.

The Tasmanian salmonid (Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout) industry is committed to growing in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and will work with state and local government, stakeholders and researchers to identify any potential impacts associated with the proposed development.

By working in a transparent and collaborative manner the industry hopes to identify areas of concern early in the process. The basis for the sustainable management of the industry in the harbour is to be provided through rigorous monitoring, firstly for harbour-wide effects and secondly for between and within fish farm effects.

The approval allows for an increase in salmonoid farming leases in Macquarie Harbour from the current two per cent to 3.3 per cent of the total water space, although only a fraction of that area will actually be farmed. Adam Main says the expansion is expected to create more than 100 jobs during construction and a further 160 production and processing jobs. Almost $90 million will be invested in an expansion of the Tasmanian salmon industry during the next five years.

The Tasmanian salmonid industry provides significant economic benefits to the state and has contributed to Tasmania’s reputation as a quality producer of fine foods.  The value of the industry has increased by about $250 million over the past five years. It directly employs more than 1300 people.

The industry’s strategic plan aims to double total salmon production in Tasmania by 2030 and to enable ongoing growth in the industry.

The West Coast Council, the Tasmanian Government and the state’s three major salmon and trout producer Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna began exploring the potential for expansion in the Macquarie Harbour region in October 2010.

The expansion is expected to improve land-based aquaculture infrastructure and services, with the proposed relocation of Huon and Tassal’s land operations closer to Smith’s Cove, where Petuna is currently situated. This would improve the flow of heavy traffic on the West Coast, away from tourism precincts.

It will also enhance the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Tasmania’s West Coast community and substantially increase the value-add of aquaculture over the next decade, in line with the Tasmanian Innovation Strategy 2010.

For more information: Adam Main +61 3 6214 0555, 0459 065 595