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Cape Connella, on south Bruny Island. (Photo: Stockfile/FIS)

Huon authorised to explore offshore aquaculture

Click on the flag for more information about Australia AUSTRALIA
Friday, August 11, 2017, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

Huon Aquaculture will undertake a research project 6 kilometres off the south of Cape Connella, on south Bruny Island, intended to push the limits of offshore salmon farming.

The compny took this decision after the release of the Tasmanian Government Thursday issued the draft Sustainable Industry Growth Plan for the Salmon Industry, offering the firm an environmental monitoring permit to explore the potential for Atlantic salmon farming on the east coast of South Bruny Island.

The Plan includes a map of Tasmania that identifies “Grow Zones’’ and also salmon farm exclusion areas, or “No Grow Zones”, extending the precedent set in Greater Mercury Passage on the East Coast, so that Tasmanians will have certainty about future farming locations.

“We welcome the draft Plan and in particular the commitment to growth in our industry coming from the development of off-shore rather than estuarine farming which aligns with the long-term vision we have for Huon,” pointed out David Morehead, Huon Aquaculture’s General Manager of Marine Operations.

The executive explained that Huon’s 3-year research project will be in three phases:

  • Phase 1: deployment of remote monitoring systems for assessment of the physical, chemical and biological conditions;
  • Phase 2: deployment of prototype equipment for testing such as communications equipment and reinforced fortress pens and potentially other offshore systems; and
  • Phase 3: one or more sites will be developed to pilot-scale farming using the new technology.

An important part of the project will be ongoing consulting with other waterway users in the area including commercial fisherman and recreational boaters and Bruny Island community.

Marine Protection Tasmania group started its Petition in May 2017, calling on the Government to place an immediate halt to all planned expansion of open pen industrial salmon farming in Tasmania until the existing environmental and regulatory failures, lack of social licence and industry relationship with Government has been addressed and rectified with transparent and independent regulation with adequate enforcement and penalties. (Photo: Marine protection Tasmania)

“We believe that offshore farming strikes the right balance between all waterway users and communities. We want to work in harmony with commercial fishers, recreational boaters and waterside communities and this research project will help us boldly step toward that,’ Morehead concluded.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, stressed that salmon farming is one of Tasmania’s growth industries and already supports more than 5000 jobs, mostly in regional Tasmania, and is strictly controlled through new tougher regulations by the independent Environment Protection Authority.

"This permit is part of the preliminary investigation process covering areas like water temperature, tidal flow and depth and also includes extensive local community consultation," he pointed out.

Finally, the minister insists that the Tasmanian Government is working with the industry and regional communities to ensure the salmon industry remains a truly world-class asset that enjoys the support of the Tasmanian community.

Related article:

- Salmon industry allowed to expand in far north-west Tasmania

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