Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following statement to the Federal Parliament.
“Salmon farming is obviously an important industry in Tasmania, but it’s not so important that it should be allowed to ride roughshod over local communities and the environment generally, or continue to drive the Maugean skate to extinction in Macquarie Harbour in particular.
“And it’s not just me saying this. Indeed the Federal Department of Environment’s expert conservation advice identifies low dissolved oxygen as the primary threat to the skate and, to quote from their report, “the most important anthropogenic contributor to the oxygen debt in Macquarie Harbour is ongoing salmonid aquaculture”. Moreover the report goes on to describe the consequences on the skate of current salmon farming as “catastrophic”.
“In other words, it’s the salmon farms. No wonder many people welcomed the Federal Environment Minister’s recent decision to openly consult on whether existing federal approvals are sufficient or need updating.
“And no wonder I’m being contacted by industry whistleblowers with allegations of extensive and careless plastic pollution, possible collusion with regulatory agencies, drastic underreporting of fish deaths and escapes, and even fuel spills. Rest assured I’ll have more to say about this at another time.
“For too long the Tasmanian salmon industry has made staggering profits while ignoring the environment. Frankly it’s like shooting fish in a barrel for them, and it’s way beyond time governments did something about it.”