WWF-Australia says there are some positives – but also areas of concern – in the Sustainable Industry Growth Plan for the Salmon Industry released by the Tasmanian Government.
CEO Dermot O’Gorman set out WWF-Australia’s comprehensive vision for the industry back in July.
It calls for all Tasmanian salmon farmers to be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council; the impacts of multiple salmon farmers operating in one area to be minimised; and no-go zones for aquaculture to be established to protect Tasmania’s marine environment.
Commenting on the Tasmanian Government’s Growth Plan he welcomed the increased transparency and access to information – in particular the on-line portal.
“This will help build community confidence in the industry and enable independent scrutiny of environmental performance,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Another positive is the zero tolerance of debris which will benefit marine species and other water users,” he said.
But WWF-Australia said the planning process attached to the Government’s strategy needed to be strengthened.
“WWF-Australia is concerned that local communities don’t have enough of a say and we fear that decisions could be made that threaten Tasmania’s unique marine environment,” he said.
“In relation to Macquarie Harbour there is no mention of a role for researchers and independent experts which is a concern as they must be involved”.
Mr O’Gorman said WWF-Australia would continue to review the Growth Plan and consult with government, industry, scientific bodies and community groups, to build on the Plan’s positives and address areas of concern.
“To ensure the long-term social licence of the industry as it grows, the government of the day must take the time to fully consult with all sectors properly,” Mr O’Gorman said.
WWF-Australia is urging all parties to proceed cautiously and with due respect for the marine environment and the needs of the overall community.