Huon Aquaculture´s salmon farm. (Photo: Huon)
Huon Aquaculture’s lawsuit to proceed in March
Saturday, December 23, 2017, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
Huon Aquaculture’s lawsuit against the Tasmania state government and its two main competitors, Tassal and Petuna, will start in the Federal Court in March.
The company sued the government in February, claiming it had failed in its environmental protection obligations over Macquarie Harbour by allowing salmon to be farmed in its waters in greater amounts that it could handle, The Advocate reported.
Huon’s claim began against the state government but they dragged Tassal into the court case arguing the company was in breach of a biomass determination made by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in June.
The firm complained that while the cap was reduced to 12,000 tonnes, Tassal were permitted to farm more salmon if it submitted to using waste capturing methods.
Huon also argued that the harbour cannot maintain a biomass limit above 10,000 tonnes while the biomass limit was 14,000 tonnes in 2016 with salmon farming expansion in Macquarie Harbour having been approved four years earlier.
As part of the lawsuit, Huon lodged with the court a number of reports, including three from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), which suggest degradation in the World Heritage-listed area and dissolved oxygen levels caused by overstocking in the harbour.
The January IMAS study in particular suggested that oxygen levels were so low that marine life was struggling to survive.
However, respondents to Huon’s claim argued that these reports could be prejudicial in the trial.
Justice Duncan Kerr ruled the data within the reports may be used but not the reports themselves due to the opinions expressed within them.
This was the case for other reports tendered to support Huon’s assertions including a report from the Macquarie Harbour Dissolved Oxygen Working Group, a Cawthron Institute Report, and two notices of determination issued by the EPA, The Advocate reported.
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