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TAMP: Shut Down Salmon Hatcheries on Rivers

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Statement – Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protections, 2 September 2021 “A TOTAL FAILURE OF REGULATION”: SHUT DOWN SALMON HATCHERIES ON TASMANIAN RIVERS The health of Tasmanian rivers is in severe jeopardy because of a complete failure by the state’s EPA to properly regulate industrial salmon hatcheries. Root and branch reform of licences and regulation is […]

Statement – Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protections, 2 September 2021

“A TOTAL FAILURE OF REGULATION”: SHUT DOWN SALMON HATCHERIES ON TASMANIAN RIVERS

The health of Tasmanian rivers is in severe jeopardy because of a complete failure by the state’s EPA to properly regulate industrial salmon hatcheries.

Root and branch reform of licences and regulation is urgently needed to avert further damage to the state’s rivers and the prospect of contaminated water supplies in Hobart.

The EPA’s director, Wes Ford, must act now to force industrial salmon companies to install closed-system, recycled water hatcheries that do not contaminate rivers – or he must close them down.

Most salmon hatcheries on Tasmanian rivers are flow-through, taking in fresh, clean water and discharging filtered but still polluted residue that can create dangerous algal blooms, health risks and foul smelling and tasting drinking water.

The discharge of nutrients, dissolved faeces and other contaminants is no longer – and has never been – fit for purpose for a major industrial undertaking.

Mr Ford has already acknowledged this in a public meeting.

The urgency is underscored in a detailed statement by an eminent Australian water scientist, Professor Peter Davies, AM.

His statement demolishes those of Mr Todd Walsh, a Huon Aquaculture contractor, who claims the salmon hatcheries have “absolutely minimal” impact on rivers.

Credited for his work on protecting the giant freshwater crayfish population, Mr Walsh is neither independent nor qualified to make an analytical assessment of nutrient flows, fish waste and other pollutants and their impacts.

Claims by industry spokesperson, Julian Amos, that “we are being unfairly targeted for things that are happening that are totally beyond our control” are a nonsense and the industry knows it.

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It’s astonishing the industry relies on a contractor to defend the indefensible and it reveals the hollow nature of its claims to be sustainable.


Response to Mercury Talking Point (29 Aug 2021) – Christine Coughanowr, 2 September 2021

Todd Walsh is a passionate river campaigner and he has achieved some important results for the conservation of Tasmania’s giant freshwater crayfish.

However, based on my experience and review of reports that are in the public domain, I strongly disagree with the sweeping statements made in Sunday’s Talking Point feature about the minimal impact of inland fish farms on Tasmanian river systems.

These impacts will depend on the individual river, the size of the hatchery and the treatment systems in place.
Furthermore, a full assessment needs to consider multiple lines of evidence with respect to degradation – waterbugs are one of these, together with water quality and benthic algae.

Nutrients are a key concern, particularly during summer months when the salmon biomass in the hatcheries is typically at the highest levels, and when river flows are sluggish and water temperatures are elevated. Excess nutrients can lead to downstream algal blooms, including nuisance and toxic species.

Inflow/outflow and upstream/downstream monitoring data for flow-through fish farms in the Derwent catchment at Wayatinah, Florentine, National Park, Karanja and below Meadowbank clearly show a major increase in nutrient concentrations, often by more than 50 times. This includes data collected by independent organisations as well as by the fish farms themselves, where they are required to report this information. I would expect similar results for other flow-through fish farms across the state.

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In any case, whatever the claims being made, it is essential that the supporting reports and data are publicly available for scrutiny.

As regards EPA regulations, these vary considerably between premises – some have minimal controls and conditions, others are fairly extensive. These can be downloaded and reviewed on the LIST website for individual premises. The EPA has started requiring public Annual Environmental Reports to be published for inland fish farms, but at present this only applies to a handful. Public AERs should be required for all inland fish farms and published on the LIST, alongside their Environmental Licenses.

The EPA urgently needs to set a clear policy and short timeline to transition the old-style flow-through fish farms to fully-recirculating systems.


Statement – Louise Cherrie, Environmental Consultant, 2 September 2021

Discharge limits have not been set by the EPA for all salmon hatcheries, despite expert recommendations to do so, and many are not required to prepare a publicly available Annual Environmental Review as is required for most other regulated premises in Tasmania meaning data is hard to collate. However, it is unequivocal that hatchery discharges cause harm.

For Mr Walsh to call out limited ecological sampling results as proof of best practice is not logical. I guess when actual discharges are concerning it provides a convenient distraction for a general audience. As I found with the marine side of the salmon industry, the illusion falls apart under scrutiny.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/09/tamp-shut-down-salmon-hatcheries-on-rivers/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tamp-shut-down-salmon-hatcheries-on-rivers

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