SYDNEY, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — Tasmanian salmon producers have been granted approval to expand their operations on the East Coast of Australia’s island state, despite concern from some environmental groups.
Approval was granted on Monday for companies Huon Aquaculture and Tassal to expand their operations in Storm Bay near state capital, Hobart with a review panel concluding that “environmental effects associated with marine farming operations can be effectively managed under the development plans and conditions of an environmental licence granted by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).”
State Premier William Hodgson said in a statement that the expanded operations are expected to create a further 180 jobs for the region and “signals a new frontier for salmon aquaculture.”
However environmental groups continue to condemn the farming practice as having both seen and unseen effects on the environment which jeopardize Tasmania’s fragile coastal ecosystems.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) recently downgraded Tasmanian farmed Atlantic salmon from “Think Twice,” to “Say No” in their sustainable seafood guide, citing an overexpansion of operations on the state’s West Coast which they say is damaging the environment.
At the time, AMCS sustainable seafood program manager Adrian Meder said, “we are supportive of sustainable aquaculture and this is an important source of seafood for Australia in the future, but it needs to be done within the bounds of which an environment can support.”
According to Hodgson, in order to mitigate environmental issues, companies will now apply for marine farming leases, as well as marine farming licences.
“When lease areas are issued, Huon Aquaculture and Tassal will then also need to demonstrate they can meet requirements in relation to engineering, emergency management and biosecurity before obtaining marine farming licences,” Hodgson said.
“Both operators will then also be required to apply for an environmental licence from the EPA and comply with the authority’s requirements in relation to environmental management of the site before any fish can be farmed on these lease areas.”