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Cages for salmon farming. (Photo: Tassal)

Tassal presents proposal for its cage waste for Macquarie Harbour

Click on the flag for more information about Australia AUSTRALIA
Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 02:00 (GMT + 9)

Tassal has lodged an application with the federal government to transport the its fish pen waste in Macquarie Harbour to a proposed discharge point about two kilometres from Hells Gates, inside the harbour.

The company claims in its application the operation would run over six months, using waste collected in plastic liners beneath its salmon cages, The Advocate informed.

The Tasmanian's salmon farming firm had already consulted with the Environmental Protection Agency and was gathering together an environmental management plan which would outline chemicals in the effluent and disinfection processes.

The company ensures that there would only be a minor environmental impact as a result of the operation but added there would be “an immediate and localised impact to water quality.”

For a time, Tassal has been seeking a disposal solution for the effluent, and presented three options to the Strahan community at a forum last week: pumping it into the sea from nearby Ocean Beach, discharging it near the entrance of Macquarie Harbour, or releasing it via the existing TasWater sewage treatment plant outfall in the harbour, 1.5km from the Strahan township.

Tassal said the community’s preferred option was to release the liquid into the Kelly Channel, 2km from the entrance of Hell’s Gates, on the ebb tide.

On being consulted about Tassal’s proposal, Environment Tasmania strategy director Laura Kelly said the group would object to it, arguing the application has insufficient information to demonstrate that their waste will not cause further harm to oxygen levels and protected species in Macquarie Harbour.

In its application, Tassal said it was unlikely that the effluent plume would be detected within the bottom waters or reach the preferred habitat for the Maugean Skate.

For his part, Strahan Community Aquaculture Forum chairman and West Coast Councillor Leigh Styles said he was surprised to hear the option was still being discussed, after it had received backlash from the community at a previous meeting.

Styles said although discharging the waste into the Kelly Channel was the preferred option, more consultation on that plan was needed with local crayfishers, nearby residents, commercial and recreational fishers and tourism operators.

Related articles: 

- Anti-aquaculture activism pose risks to Tassal, its executives state
- Tassal suspected of having influenced Senate’s work
- Strong controversy generated by federal approval for Tassal’s aquaculture farm in Tasmania

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