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Feds must intervene in Macquarie Harbour salmon farm regulation

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 16 Nov 2016

Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has used the latest EPA reporting on the state of Macquarie Harbour to write to Federal Environment Minister to ask him to reconsider the 2012 decision that the salmon farming expansion did not require assessment under the EPBC Act.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “In the Senate Inquiry the Greens recommended that if any new information came to light or the impacts identified in the leaked reports are not solved, then the Federal Government needs to step in.

“In 2012, when a decision was made that salmon farming was not a ‘controlled action,’ the modelling indicated that the impacts on Macquarie Harbour would be minimal. Since then, leaked reports have clearly stated that the impacts are much worse than what was envisaged despite real-world stocking rates not yet reaching the volume that was modelled.

“Yesterday’s EPA report showed that the visual impacts, the spread of polychaete worms and the suffocatingly low dissolved oxygen levels just aren’t getting any better.

“The Federal Minister needs to consider that when the EPBC decision was made, none of these impacts were expected. It’s not that the Harbour’s health has gone backwards in just a few months; it is that these impacts weren’t even considered possible when the Minister’s decision was made.

“I have also asked the Minister to conduct a compliance review of the EPBC decision because it is clear to me that the conditions are simply not being met.

“A properly regulated salmon industry should not be having this sort of impact on World Heritage values under any circumstance. Given the state government keeps downplaying the obvious problems it is time for the Federal Government to act,” he concluded.

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