Tasmanian Labor supports Petuna salmon plan

Rebecca White.
Rebecca White.

A proposal for a lease-based management of Macquarie Harbour by Petuna Seafoods has been backed by the state Opposition. 

New Labor Leader Rebecca White has expressed support for the idea, saying it falls in line with the policy position announced by the party a month ago.

The plan, released by North-West based Petuna on Friday, was noted by the state government and supported by fellow salmon producer Tassal.

“Petuna has put forward a plan for the future sustainability of Macquarie Harbour which is consistent with Labor’s plan,” Ms White said.

Labor has proposed a suite of stronger regulations to maintain community trust in the industry.

“This shows that while Jeremy Rockliff and Guy Barnett have been undermining community confidence in the industry, Labor has been developing practical solutions that support jobs and future growth,” she said.

Ms White said it was important to support an industry that is a big employer and contributor to the Tasmanian economy.

“We hear the community is demanding better regulation of salmon farming and a majority Labor government has a policy to deliver this.”

A state government spokesperson said on Friday it was “the strongest supporter” of the  industry but said they would seek the advice of the EPA on how best to manage Macquarie Harbour.

Alternatives to ocean-based salmon farming has been raised by the Shooters and Fishers party, who have advocated taking a look at land-based alternatives.

“With projected growth in the industry and the virtual doubling of salmon production over the next five years, how do we ensure this growth is environmentally neutral,” Shooters and Fishers vice chair Ken Orr said.

“Land-based salmon farming is being practiced and introduced around the world, as is closed containment aquaculture. These practices have succeeded in eliminating the main concerns of open cage sea farming.”