50 boats protest Tassal's Okehampton Bay salmon farm

SALMON FARM: Tassal plans to set up 25 new pens in Triabunna over the next 18 months. Picture: Supplied
SALMON FARM: Tassal plans to set up 25 new pens in Triabunna over the next 18 months. Picture: Supplied

Approximately 50 boats converged on Triabunna’s waters to protest Tassal’s Okehmampton Bay fish farm on Sunday. 

The protest was organised by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Tasmania and comes after Labor voted in support of the east coast development in parliament last week.

Tassal first set up developments in Triabunna a month ago, and has three pens currently in operation, with plans to install a further 25 over the next 18 months.

“The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Tasmania absolutely support environmentally sustainable salmon farming,” party acting chair Ken Orr said.

“We do not support the degradation of our pristine east coast waters, risking our aquatic biosecurity, mammal migration routes and tourism operations.

“We don’t support salmon farming in Okehampton Bay.”

Tassal has copped widespread criticism this year for its Macquarie Harbour salmon farming operations.

According to a Four Corners report, all marine wildlife in a 500 metre proximity of its Hobart site perished.

An Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies also found that decreased oxygen levels around Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour Salmon farm could lead to significant environmental damage. 

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor has called for a halt on fish farm expansion in the state.

“The Greens will move for a moratorium on fish farm expansion in parliament this week in a bid to ensure the industry's rapid growth doesn't further degrade the marine environment and shut out affected communities,” she said.

SHOOTERS, FISHERS AND FARMERS: The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Tasmania organised the protest. Picture: Supplied

SHOOTERS, FISHERS AND FARMERS: The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Tasmania organised the protest. Picture: Supplied

“It poses an unacceptable threat to east coast waters, in particular recreational fisheries and the nearby Marine Protected Area at Maria Island. 

“Tassal should pull out of Okehampton Bay before any more damage is done.”

However, Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said Salmon farming was a vital part of Tasmania’s economy.

“The Okehampton Bay fish farm is breathing new life and jobs back into Triabunna,” he said.

“As has been well canvassed, the Okehampton Bay fish farm is a pre-existing lease and will operate at the highest possible environmental standards.

“The Government will not be moving to place a moratorium on fish farms - to do so would cost jobs.”