Bryan Green approved an amendment to the Macquarie Harbour Marine Farming Development plan earlier in 2012. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Tasmania receives approval to boost salmon farming
Tuesday, October 09, 2012, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
The Commonwealth has given Tasmania approval to increase marine farming on the West Coast. The move will bring major expansion in the sector worth tens of millions of dollars and create over 250 new jobs in Macquarie Harbour.
"The expansion has undergone the most extensive environmental assessment ever of a marine farming development in Tasmania," Deputy Premier Bryan Green said.
This approval follows the decision by the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities Tony Burke, that the expansion does not require further assessment.
Green said Burke had decided that salmon farming in the harbour would not significantly affect any matters of national environmental significance identified under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as long as it is undertaken in accordance with the State's framework to manage the industry.
Green said the expansion plans by Tasmania's major salmon producers Petuna Aquaculture, Tassal and Huon Aquaculture had the potential to triple production. The development would pour more than AUD 88 million (USD 89.6 million) into the regional economy in the first five years and breed 100 jobs during the construction phase.
He said the farming area would be increased to 926 ha, taking up 3.3 per cent of the harbour, an increase of just over 1 per cent.
"An expert reference group will advise on future monitoring and management of the farming operations. The strong focus on sustainability gives the Government and the industry great confidence for future growth,” Green told.
He approved an amendment to the Macquarie Harbour Marine Farming Development plan earlier in 2012, paving the way for new lease areas to be provided subject to approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Green said the Government will now collaborate with the industry to ensure the expansion abides by the established framework to ensure sustainable growth.
"Tasmania's salmon industry has been a great success story and the expansion will be a huge boost to the West Coast and the broader Tasmanian economy. This is a vote of confidence in the future of our aquaculture industry and Tasmania's unique brand values,” Green declared.
Environmental groups are concerned that the project is unsustainable and could harm ecosystems in the nearby world heritage area, ABC reports.
The value of salmon production in Tasmania has risen by AUD 250 million (USD 254.5 million) in the past five years. In 2011, the industry produced over 30,000 tonnes of fish and now employs over 1,000 people, Green said.
"The Government's support further demonstrates our strong focus on growing the primary industries sector through investment that will sustain jobs," he added.
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